This edition of Activism Updates will introduce you to the issue of fracking in Nova Scotia and empower you to protest against it.
What Fracking Is
Fracking is the extraction of shale gas and other hydrocarbons held in dense rock formations using modern hydraulic fracturing techniques, including the combination of toxic chemical slickwater, high pressure fracturing and horizontal drilling. These extraction techniques come with serious risks, including:
∗ Risks to drinking water, including the use and contamination of huge volumes of water with toxic chemicals, and risk of well contamination from methane and other substances.
∗ Risks of contamination of streams and rivers and soil from fracking fluids and fracking waste through accidents, extreme weather, or poor practices.
∗ Risks to human health from exposure to airborne toxins at multiple stages of production, exposure to toxic waste, and exposure to toxins through drinking water or soil.
∗ Risks from the generation of toxic waste in immense quantities for which there is no known safe method of disposal.
∗ Risks from the industrialization of rural areas, including the destruction of landscapes and ecosystems, decline of tourism, decline of property values, stresses on existing infrastructure from massive equipment, even risks of small earthquakes, as well as an overall decline in quality of life. - The Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition.
Fracking In Nova Scotia
Most recently, PetroWorth of Toronto has been granted a one-year exploration agreement extension by the Energy Department to drill a controversial $1.6-million exploration oil well near Lake Ainslie, even though the Nova Scotia government has delayed a final review of best fracking practices in the province until after the next provincial election, in 2014. While that decision is likely political, the province stands to earn a substantial amount of money from fracking royalties, which would be of financial benefit to cash-strapped Cape Breton.
Even so, Nova Scotians realize the risks of fracking far outweigh the benefits and have been protesting the practice for some time. NOFRAC (@NOFRAC) (www.facebook.com/NOFRAC) and Stop Fracking in Nova Scotia are providing citizens with information and opportunities to voice their concerns, and recent protests in Pictou County and at the Canso Causeway have garnered the attention of the press.
What You Can Do
It's important to note that the review delayed by the Nova Scotia government will focus on best fracking practices and not on whether or not fracking ought to be permitted in the province at all. Further, PetroWorth already has drilling permits in place and is prepared to expand beyond the exploration well should it deem the expansion profitable. So it's clear that a pro-fracking bias already exists in government and industry. However, because the promised review has been delayed until after the next provincial election, it's clear that government also realizes opposition to fracking is strong here. And while PetroWorth's forthcoming work near Lake Ainslie is certainly disheartening, it isn't fracking in the province yet, and it can still be stopped.
The first thing you can do to stop fracking in Nova Scotia is to educate yourself. NOFRAC has an excellent Resources page that includes a pamphlet, news articles and other materials. You can also write to groundwater (at) ecologyaction.ca and ask how you might be of help. Keep abreast of current developments by following NOFRAC on Twitter (@NOFRAC) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/NOFRAC) and attend action meetings, letter-writing campaigns and protests. Most importantly, speak out against fracking in Nova Scotia. Make your voice heard. Let government and industry know that this place of pristine beauty is most valuable to us as it is now and that fracking can only hurt the province and the people who live here.
That's all for this edition. Thank you for reading, and thank you for everything you do to make the world we share a better place.