Monday, September 24, 2012



Remember when you had never heard of the word "fracking."  Well, you know it now, mostly thanks to the fight against it.

As we all know, 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. It needs masses of trucking activity, produces tons of contaminated water and appears to be poorly monitored and controlled. Extraction techniques come with serious risks.  Risks to drinking water, risks to streams and rivers, risks to human health and life, risks to ecosystems, etc. etc. and etc. 

One of dozens and dozens of places where people are protesting attempts by the oil and gas industries to mess with their lives is up in Nova Scotia where PetroWorth of Toronto is Capital's representative on the scene.

The provincial government there has delayed deciding supposedly  whether or not the company can proceed until after the next election in 2014.

In fact, Robert Parkins from Halifax who opposes the fracking says, ""This review is only smoke and mirrors,.  Reading it closely, you will see that the review is not on whether or not they will allow fracking in Nova Scotia. The review is on which practices they will actually let them do. Regardless of the outcome of this review, fracturing will happen."

Over the weekend anti fracking activist in Nova Scotia focused their protest on attempts to protect Lake Ainslie, Nova Scotia's largest freshwater lake, from any and all fossil fuel drilling on her shores. 

The Dominion reports:

Parkins views the positioning of the site, which has been selected by PetroWorth due to various 19th-century finds of oil and gas in the area, as an attempt by the province and the corporation to force a "worst case" scenario situation. Essentially, claims Parkins, if a drill site can be established on the shores of relatively pristine Lake Ainslie, the province's largest freshwater lake, at the head of the Margaree River Watershed and with some of the last remaining viable Atlantic salmon spawning grounds in the province, then it can be done anywhere.

“It's one of the worst possible locations that you could ever put a drill site. So if they can get away with putting a drill site there, it's going to set a precedent in Nova Scotia that they can place them anywhere,” says Parkins.

Initially Mi'kmaq chiefs were leaning to support for the fracking deal.  However, as the Dominion again reports: 

...the recent unrest, coupled with the effort of a group of local Mi'kmaq organizers who forced their way into a meeting of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs (ANSMC) on September 20, has caused the chiefs to do something of a public about-face.

A press release, issued on September 21, notes that the ANSMC are “in support of the community's concerns on hydraulic fracturing in the Lake Ainslie area of Cape Breton.” 
In any event, Ginny Marshall, one of the main forces behind the recent Mi'kmaq actions against the potential drill site, had this to say,   “[The chiefs] don't have the last say.  They work for us, so they better behave.”

In fact, about ten days ago the Mi'kmaq were the leading force in another protest blockade.  At that action Emmett Peters of Paq’tnkek (Afton) emphasized to the Halifax Media Co-op the importance of the action for future generations.
“I don’t know if you’re familiar with the 1752 treaty, [which was affirmed in the 1999] Marshall Decision, where we’re allowed to hunt and fish. So they thought about us 300 years previous. That’s how strong that treaty was."
“So now what we’re trying to do is leave something for our children…maybe all it could be is fresh water.”

The following is from Rabble.

'Global Frackdown' in Auld's Cove, Nova Scotia

 | SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

'Global Frackdown' in Auld's Cove, Nova Scotia
This weekend, hundreds of people driving to and from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, were greeted by a large gathering as part of 'Global Frackdown' -- a worldwide day of action and solidarity, intended to "send a message to elected officials in our communities and across the globe that we want a future fuelled by clean, renewable energy, not dirty, polluting fossil fuels."

The fight to protect Lake Ainslie, Nova Scotia's largest freshwater lake, has brought together local First Nations, social justice and environmental groups, and concerned individuals. The event was organized by the Waycobah First Nation, and was a follow-up to similar events in the past two weeks as Petroworth looks to move ahead with their plans for an exploratory well on the shores of West Lake Ainslie.

Decked out in vibrant rain gear, participants chatted to drivers and with each other alongside the highway, handing out Council buttons and stickers, sharing food and making friends. Children held "I heart Lake Ainslie" posters, while another activist from the Occupy movement ran alongside passing vehicles, applying 'Don't frack our water' stickers for those in support.

Despite being slowed down on the highway due to the event, drivers displayed an overwhelmingly positive response, highlighting the widespread support for a ban on fracking in the region. Passerbys, including truck drivers, families, and police officers, showed their support with honks, waves, fists of solidarity and lots of smiles. The event showcased a strong sense of community and support for this grassroots movement.

Along with a few other speakers, Wilbert Marshall, chief of Chapel Island First Nation, spoke to an appreciative group to demonstrate the commitment of Mi'kmaq leadership in Nova Scotia. After the rally, organizers invited the whole group to join in their water ceremony, led by members of the Wacobah but who also invited Rebecca Parkins, whose home is next to the proposed drill site, to stand with them. The moment was blessed by a sighting of three eagles soaring above the strait, who have great spiritual significance in the Mi'kmaq culture.

This was also shown by who was there. Carloads of people came from Halifax, the North Shore of Nova Scotia, and Inverness County. Among the great show of solidarity were several Council of Canadians members, including myself, Ali Vervaeke (Atlantic Organizing Assistant), Anne Levesque (Atlantic Chapter Representative to the Board), Berta and Brian Gaulke of the North Shore chapter, and several people from the Inverness County chapter (about 15). We all shared a common goal to protect our water and land from shale gas development and fracking.

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