It wouldn't be 'sensible' for N.S. to proceed with fracking: panel chair
Published Thursday, July 24, 2014 7:25PM ADT
The man overseeing a review of fracking in Nova Scotia has concluded it isn’t reasonable to proceed at this point.
David Wheeler has been making his way across Nova Scotia for a series of public meetings in his role as chair of the province’s independent hydraulic fracturing review panel.
Wheeler, who is also the president of Cape Breton University, says it became clear by his seventh stop that Nova Scotians are concerned about fracking in their province.
“The majority opinion in our province is against hydraulic fracturing and there are reasons for that,” says Wheeler.
Hundreds of Halifax-area residents attended a meeting in the city Wednesday evening, and many expressed concerns about the review process.
Some feel the report will recommend the government allow hydraulic fracturing because officials believe the benefits outweigh the risks.
“I understand from last night’s meeting the history in Nova Scotia is such that people are having trouble putting faith in government, but people should not make assumptions on where government will land on this,” said Nova Scotia Energy Minister Andrew Younger.
While the panel’s recommendations aren’t due until next month, it appears Wheeler has already made up his mind on fracking in Nova Scotia.
“There are still many, many unknowns and we are saying at this point it would not be sensible for this province to proceed,” he says.
The geoscience coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre says she wants Younger to take Wheeler’s advice even further.
“I hope he shows real leadership for Nova Scotians and enacts a 10-year moratorium on fracking,” says Jennifer West.
Wheeler says he is not recommending a moratorium on fracking because he believes it would curb dialogue around the issue.
However, he says if the process does go forward in the future, it should be the choice of Nova Scotians.
“So it would only be if a community or set of communities wanted to embrace this activity.”
Hydraulic fracturing is a process that pumps liquid, usually water, deep into the ground to fracture rock and extract natural gas.
Many Maritimers have expressed environmental concerns about the process, particularly the potential for groundwater contamination.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jayson Baxter