Fracking bylaw wording under pressure1/22/2013
No one wants to jeopardize watersheds, and the beauty of the Lake Ainslie area is sacrosanct to local residents, but at least one local councillor is worried about the wording of a proposed anti-fracking bylaw for Inverness County.
“We might want to make sure of our wording because you can shut down all exploration completely,” said Dwayne MacDonald, councillor for District 6 in Inverness County.
“We drive local people who work in the oil industry to and from the airport every week so they can work elsewhere in the oil industry,” said MacDonald, during a telephone interview Monday.
“People are going off-island to work in the oil industry, in Saskatchewan and Labrador and Fort McMurray, and it concerns me greatly if we create a bylaw that is too all-encompassing so those people can never come back here to work.”
“We don’t want to shut the door on these people ever coming back here to work,” he said.
The proposed bylaw is in response to fears about a Toronto-based oil exploration company and its plans to drill an exploration well near Lake Ainslie.
Petroworth Resources is on record as saying it does not plan to use hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking. Fracking involves using chemicals and water under high pressure to get at underground oil or gas reserves.
Many local residents fear the environmental problems believed to be associated with this process, particularly contamination of groundwater.
However, MacDonald said there are many people in this region who don’t want to exclude the possibility of oil exploration ever happening in this region.
“No one likes the idea of fracking but what I’m saying is if the bylaw is too all-encompassing, it won’t leave room for other forms of exploration,”said MacDonald.
Hydraulic fracturing is not currently allowed in Nova Scotia. The practice is under review by the provincial government and a determination is not expected to be released until next year.
“We’re definitely not trying to stop oil and gas exploration in Inverness County, just stop this one process, which is fracking.”
In the meantime, Inverness County Council has set up public meetings on the issue. Meetings were scheduled for Monday in St. Joseph du Moine and Inverness and there is a meeting tonight in Port Hastings.
“We want to get the opinion of the people we represent so we can do the right thing and we have to get the best information from all sides of this issue,” he added.
Since Petroworth Resources announced its plans to drill in the area back in 2010, there has been a great hue and cry from local environmental groups concerned about the environmental implications.
“No one wants to take any chances on the environment at all, but let’s make sure the wording of any bylaw we pass is what we want,” said MacDonald.
(The Chronicle Herald)