To industry officials, using hydraulic fracturing is a standard practice for removing gas from rock that doesn’t want to give it up. It takes place deep underground and leaves the surrounding environment untouched.
Environmental groups, however, have a different take on the practice saying it’s destructive to underground aquifers that contain drinking water reserves while there’s no telling what chemicals are used as part of the liquid soup used to fracture the rock.
What has been in an issue in several states in the U.S. and in Quebec and New Brunwick is about to become an issue in this province. While no licences have been issued for ‘fracking’ in Nova Scotia, there are fears respondents to a government request for submissions for three areas in Cumberland, Colchester and Pictou counties could result in the use of the controversial practice.
In Malagash and next door in Tatamagouche a group of people have banded together on a petition calling on the province to prevent hydraulic fracturing from taking place in along the north shore region of Nova Scotia. The group has collected several hundred signatures and plans to present the petition to a Pictou area MLA and cabinet minister early next week.
Both the Ecology Action Centre and the Central Nova Tourist Association have also joined the debate saying fracking will harm the environment and damage the province’s reputation as a tourist destination.
While the Liberal caucus is accusing the provincial government of brushing off public concerns, Premier Darrell Dexter is correct in not rushing to conclusions or using speculation to form government policy. The premier has indicated he wants to see how other jurisdictions are handling the matter and wants to balance protecting the environment with not being too restrictive to what’s an emerging, and lucrative, industry.
Before the province makes any decisions on this matter it needs to collect the facts and hold an informed debate with both the industry and the public so the best decision for all Nova Scotians is made.