© Dave Mathieson - The Amherst News
Angela Giles, (right) Atlantic Regional organizer for the Council of Canadians, presented an information session on shale gas fracturing Wednesday night at the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro. More chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the 40 people who attended the meeting.
PARRSBORO - Angela Giles of the Council of Canadians said shale gas fracturing isn't going to create an abundance of jobs and could destroy the environment if not opposed.
Giles has been with the Council of Canadians for 10 years, and has been the Atlantic Regional Organizer for the last five, and on Wednesday night she was in Parrsboro to talk about the dangers of shale gas hydraulic fracturing.
Giles started the meeting by explaining who the Council of Canadians is.
"We try to promote progressive policies around the campaigns we're working on," said Giles.
She said they receive no money from industry or government and says the campaigns they're focusing on include pipelines, such as the recently proposed east-west pipeline from Alberta, and issues dealing with water.
"For us, fracking falls under the water category," said Giles.
Giles began her power-point presentation by explaining what fracking is.
"It's a method of extracting natural gas from tight rock deep under ground," said Giles. "Typically, a well is drilled deep underground, vertically to begin with, and then horizontally."
Giles said a mixture of water, sand and chemicals are injected under high pressure into the well with the purpose of fracturing the shale rock, allowing the natural gas to escape and come back up the well.
Giles then outlined her concerns with hydraulic fracturing, starting with the amount of fresh water required.
"Millions of litres of fresh water are required for each well," she said. "Seven million litres were used to fracture one of the wells in Kennetcook, (N.S.). This was for just one frack of one well."
She also said the chemicals used pose a serious risk for contamination.
"Any number of things can go wrong above ground and below ground, and there can certainly be contamination of water because the fracking can break into the ground-water supply."
She also talked about ‘cradle to grave' issues.
"You have to consider the number of trucks required, the road infrastructure and the toxic waste that will remain afterwards."
Those concerns were then tied into health concerns and how toxins can make their way into the environment.
"There is the potential for toxic sludge to seep out of a containment pond or toxic tailings pond," said Giles. "In fact, there are no ways that have been determined to be 100 per cent safe in how to deal with the toxic waste."
Giles also said rural areas are usually targeted for fracking.
"You're not going to get the numbers of opposition in rural areas," she said.
She also had concern about the number of jobs created.
"Our government in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and elsewhere love to latch onto this aspect, saying it's about job creation and energy security," said Giles. "I'm not going pretend that's not true but the difference between what the industry has misled the government into believing is much different than what the reality is.
"Often with these types of jobs you have to be an expert in your field in order to get that type of work," she added. "For people in a rural community who don't have that expertise they might get a security job or there might be some trucking related work but, ultimately, creating a few jobs is not worth destroying your environment, your watershed and your future."