Rally in N.B. calls to lift moratorium on fracking
The “Lift the Moratorium” rally in the Sussex area is calling for an end to the moratorium on fracking in New Brunswick.
After the recent closure of a nearby Potash mine, many say fracking could bring much-needed opportunity for those out of work – and also bring more business back to Sussex.
Paul Bedford, a business owner, moved home from Alberta to open a pump and compressor business when natural gas development seemed to be moving forward in New Brunswick.
“Our thought was ‘let’s open this business, let’s be here to support the oil and gas industry when it comes,’” says Bedford. “I guess everybody knows how that’s sort of been.”
It’s been on hold since the Liberal party, who ran a promise to impose a moratorium hydraulic fracturing, won a majority government in 2014.
“I think the government is pandering to some votes they’re afraid of losing if they lifted the moratorium,” says New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Leader, Bruce Fitch. “This is not an experimental industry; it’s been successful here in the Sussex area for ten years.”
McCully Field is one owned by Corridor Resources – 39 wells have been drilled on the location to access natural gas in the sandstone rocks below ground.
The field sits on property leased by farmer Stephen Moffett.
“My family is here, my grandchildren are here, we play and swim and fish in the river, we drink the water out of the ground,” says Moffett. “We feel that there’s really no reason for us to be concerned.”
Moffet says he thinks the province should consider lifting its blanket ban on shale gas development.
“We’re different here, the gas here is 2,000 metres under the ground, that’s two kilometres down,” says Moffet. “There’s layers and layers of bedrock between our groundwater and the shale gas.”
While resource development is provincial jurisdiction, Fundy Royal Liberal Member of Parliament, Alaina Lockhart, says there’s room for discussion.
“I appreciate the fact that the provincial government needs to look at the provincial wide situation,” says Lockhart. “However, here in Sussex, I think they are working towards a plan - and I respect that.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.