Parrsboro council to be asked to ban shale gas fracturing

Published on February 14, 2014

PARRSBORO - Parrsboro Town Council will be urged to take a strong stand in opposition to hydraulic shale gas fracturing when it meets in open session here Tuesday evening, Feb. 25.
Harriet McCready, speaking on behalf of a group of concerned citizens, said the intent is to see council enact a by-law or pass a resolution banning fracking, echoing the positions taken by Cumberland County council, Inverness County council, and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities.

“We’ll be presenting council with an overview of what fracking is and why we are concerned – the known and the unknown risks to our health, our environment and our water,” McCready said.

“This is an industrial process whose impacts will potentially outlast us and our children, if allowed to go ahead without passing the most stringent examination. When you consider the waste water disposal problems and the unknown magnitude of chemical pollution going into our groundwater, quite frankly, the science is not there to support the risks. There is so much we don’t know.”

The group hopes that the addition of Parrsboro’s voice to those already on record as opposing this practice – at least until it can be proven safe – will help convince the provincial government to take a very measured approach, even as it awaits the report of the review panel. 

Fracking grabbed headlines last summer in the New Brunswick community of Elsipogtog, when native and non-native residents stood shoulder to shoulder for days, weeks and months, trying to keep SWN Resources - a shale gas company - out of their community.

“The people were powerless to stop them, despite the groundswell of opposition in the affected communities. The government had already renewed the exploration permits. The New Brunswick case clearly illustrates the ineffectiveness of a reactive response; we must be proactive if we are to be heard,” said McCready.

Barb Gilbert, one member of the local group concerned about fracking, said the most critical element is the water.

“If we take risks with the supply of clean water, we are doomed,” she said. “Common sense dictates extreme caution, and the evidence needs to be carefully weighed.”