Dorchester to consider ban of hydro-fracking

Joan
Joan LeBlanc
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DORCHESTER, N.B. – The village of Dorchester is considering asking the provincial government to ban hydro-fracking across New Brunswick.

Hydraulic fracturing, known as hydro-fracking or fracking, is a method of natural gas extraction used to remove gas from rock formations deep underground; shale gas is removed from shale rock. The government is moving forward with plans to allow hydro-fracking in New Brunswick, amid many protests protesting the practice that have been held across the province by anti-fracking individuals, groups and organizations.

At last week’s regular meeting of Dorchester council, members of the Tantramar Alliance Against Hydro-Fracking (TAAHF) addressed council, asking the village to ban the practice of unconventional shale gas in the province.

“I’m sure you’ve heard about unconventional hydro-fracking in the news . . . we’re here to urge the council to pass a motion to ask the province for a ban of this practice. We have done so in Sackville, Memramcook and Port Elgin, all the other communities in the extended Tantramar region, and they have all passed similar motions,” said Virgil Hammock, a member of TAAHF.

He noted that the town of Sackville passed a motion on December 12, 2011 to request that the provincial government invoke a total ban of hydro-fracking in New Brunswick.

“Initially we were talking about having no fracking within the town limits . . . obviously we have no authority outside of the town, and the possibility of having fracking within the town limits is pretty slim. I also doubt they would be doing drilling within the village of Dorchester. It’s more symbolic than anything else because they (the provincial government) need to know. There needs to be a lot more public debate on this issue; it’s seen as a done deal by the sitting government. We were told as much by our current member (MLA Mike Olscamp),” he added.

Hammock noted that serious environmental and health concerns, possible problems with the province’s water supply, infrastructure problems as well as other issues may well occur as the result of unconventional hydro-fracking.

“I think you will find that a considerable number of New Brunswickers are against (this practice) and I note that your mayor has spoken outwardly about the need to protect the earth . . . you see, once you break the egg, you can’t get the yolk back inside. We don’t need dirty resources,” he said.

Fellow TAAHF member Meredith Fisher also urged council to check out the wealth of information available concerning the problems of hydro-fracking.

“There are many places in the mid-west, and in closer areas such as Pennsylvania that have had problems due to hydro-fracking. A lot of communities have also passed moratoriums and bans on the practice,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Grant MacDonald asked why there is little information about the practice of hydro-fracking from within Canada, to which Mayor J.J. Bear replied.

“I can answer that; the US has already done this for a number of years so they’re starting to get reports. The effects don’t happen right away, they happen down the road . . . they’ve had time elapsed enough so they’re starting to see the effects of what that process actually does,” he said.

Council advised the TAAHF that it would consider their request for the hydro-fracking ban.

Organizations: Dorchester council, Tantramar Alliance, Hydro-Fracking

Geographic location: Dorchester, New Brunswick, Sackville Port Elgin Tantramar New Brunswickers Pennsylvania Canada US

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