by Jim Emberger, LTE, Telegraph Journal
Nov. 29, 2018

The Higgs government has attached an amendment to the throne speech, calling for the lifting of the moratorium on fracking in the Sussex area and extending southeast into Albert County. The justification for doing so is that, because there has been fossil fuel development there in the past, the local populations want it. There is no proof provided for this statement.

The municipalities of Albert County have stated just the opposite, a position they took four years ago and have not changed. Local civil society groups, such as Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County and the Petitcodiac Watershed Association, have strongly voiced opposition.

Likewise, in the Sussex area there has always been opposition to fracking. The municipality of Sussex Corner opposed it four years ago. We have not heard that it has changed its position. Penobsquis, where gas wells currently exist (not in Sussex), has long had citizen opposition to fracking. The same is true in surrounding agricultural areas such as Cornhill.

Simply living in an area with historical small-scale fossil fuel development does not imply approval for industrializing the area with a full-blown shale gas industry. The areas in question have thriving tourist (Fundy Park) and agriculture economies, both of which would be threatened by fracking activities.

Without some indication that such issues have been considered by local populations and a conscious choice made to risk them, any statement about these regions “wanting” shale gas should not be considered as fact by MLAs as they vote on the issue. Just saying that local populations want fracking does not make it so.

Jim Emberger NB Anti-Shale Gas Alliance