In favour of fracking

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Fracking is giving the west coast of Newfoundland a chance at an oil industry and the revival of a moribund economy.

However, a vocal subset is determined that the prosperity of the oil industry should be confined to the Avalon Peninsula and ever prosperous St. John’s.

Using the spectre of pollution from drilling materials, these dilettantes mobilize others who will never be part of the workforce and campaign to make sure prosperity does not intrude on their idyllic parkland vision of the province.

Applying their antiseptic standards, the now historic industrial base of the Stephenville area would never have been built: no Ernest Harmon Airfield, no Abitibi paper mill, no Dosco quarry in Aguathuna.

Industrial renewal has to move beyond reactionary squeamishness.

Barry Stagg

Toronto

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Stephenville, Abitibi

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  • Colin Burke
    August 07, 2013 - 12:04

    I suspect, tentatively, Mr. Stagg of employing a degree of irony to oppose fracking: there now are actually "no Ernest Harmon Airfield, no Abitibi paper mill, and no Dosco quarry" in our area, and what remains of what used to be the U.S.A.F. base sprawls over expropriated farmIand that could permanently have supported families in a population limited as much by natural circumstcances as industrialists want to limit our numbers today. My suspicion seems further justfified by Mr. Stagg's having failed to mention the currently viable mining operation at Lower Cove on the Port au Port Peninsula.

  • James
    August 06, 2013 - 09:02

    Having worked in Fort McMurray and seen firsthand the environmental damage caused by oil development I am not at all eager to see fracking happen on the west coast of NL. The tailings ponds and flare stacks burning off excess methane are enough to make one's stomach turn. I encourage people to read up on fracking as the process appears to be even worse than the process used in Fort McMurray to extract oil from sand.

  • A. Aguathuna
    August 05, 2013 - 16:47

    This is a useful video, describing the process of hydraulic fracturing in detail. http://www.energyfromshale.org/hydraulic-fracturing/how-hydraulic-fracturing-works

  • Scifipolsci
    August 03, 2013 - 01:13

    Whether we frack or not, the bay is gonna get polluted, and jobs disappear. We need an orgy of growth in Canada to keep the game alive. Barry's survival depends on this. If you hate the game, try to change it. You can't change Barry. Sorry hippies, glad you enjoyed yourselves since the 70s but you forgot to have an economy, so now we have to impose one on you. There is nothing you can do. All your base belong to us.Pwned!!

  • John in CB
    August 02, 2013 - 22:21

    Thanks, Barry for succinctly telling it like it is. I could not have said it better myself. There is such a thing as balance and responsible development. Let's get on with it.

    • Eli
      August 07, 2013 - 14:42

      So where are all those industries Now guys? They're long gone man. To be fair, we figured they'd be there forever. I even worked for awhile at Harmon Field back in the 50's. The jobs associated with fracking are fleeting. We know that much now!

  • Ed Power
    August 02, 2013 - 21:58

    Our favourite little Alex P. Keaton, "A Business Man" , keeps letting his online Avatar intrude into the real world. His mommy should really upgrade the parental controls on her laptop as he is beginning to think that his imaginary business empire is real. Next thing you know he'll swipe her credit card and start ordering the Donald Trump "Humility" DVD series - Volumes 1 thru 350....

  • real westcoaster
    August 02, 2013 - 19:23

    yeah cindy, for a whole six to eight weeks ... what about the other fourty. They're not selling that much alpaca food. If you live here as you say I guess you would see the campers and self contained motor homes pass your house as I do ... so much for the hotel theory. As for the fishery, they just finished the lobster fishery for the total of ten weeks now the traps are pulled to shore till next year. Yeah it's booming here ... by the way, I too live here. By the way, it's free to see the alpacas ... do the math!

  • Anon
    August 02, 2013 - 15:33

    Thank god the likes of this is in Toronto where he can't vote. I for one do not want fracking fluid in my drinking water. And to those who say that we merely nitpick at a few problem wells to condemn the whole industry, we're not nitpicking. There are hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of these polluted groundwater supplies and abandoned drill sites across the continent that will cause problems for residents forever and a century. NO FRACKING WAY.

  • real westcoaster
    August 02, 2013 - 12:48

    Hey politically incorrect, Barry is voicing his opinion just as you are. It's funny how you anti-frackers react when someone opposes your view. God forbid we have some kind of industry here with real incomes instead of a monthly check from real tax payers. I'm completely insulted by your anti-fracking point of view ... guess were even!

    • Politically incorrect
      August 02, 2013 - 14:03

      RW. Your argument makes no sense. It just makes mindless insinuations about anyone who criticises fracking then screams "conspiracy" just like Barry Stagg's.

    • Frenchshoreman
      August 02, 2013 - 18:07

      Sure, go ahead and have industry. I can't wait to see what you say when you've got to have all your water trucked in. Or maybe you'll expect the taxpayers to foot the bill for that because "the company" did something bad to you and "da government got to do something about it". Except of course, you're the one supporting the company in the first place, so it'll be your own damn fault. Why should my tax dollars go to providing you with fresh water after you being so snotty and superior to the people trying to warn you of the environmental damage you are courting? If you know what's going to happen and still want them to frack anyway, Devil's cure to you when you've got to buy water. My hometown is far enough north, our water will still be pure when you are setting fire to what's running out your taps. I'm sure people on the Northern Peninsula will be only too glad to sell you their water at a premium once fracking has poisoned yours. I mean, you'll be making enough off the oil and gas, you shouldn't mind spreading some of it around a little bit, and what better way to do that than by buying water from other people in Newfoundland once you've poisoned your own?

  • Tony Rockel
    August 02, 2013 - 12:43

    Oh no, we can't let reactionary squeamishness get in the way of ruining what's left of our planet--especially not when there's money to be made by Barry Stagg and friends.

  • real westcoaster
    August 02, 2013 - 12:21

    Hey cindy, name one business in the port au port, or surrounding area that makes a living from tourism ... just what I thought, NONE.

    • Cindy
      August 02, 2013 - 14:19

      You are funny Real Westcoaster, I can name many many shops and Businesses in the Port au Port area. There are craft stores, alpacka farm, bed and breakfast's, Inn's, camping parks, ect. You can also include the businesses in the bigger area (Stephenville) that make money from Tourist visiting the Port au Port area, such as the hotels, restaurants, tour operators, gift shops, retail stores, local bars, Arts and Culture Center, etc. I also believe with better advertising and development, even more jobs could be created in Port au Port and surrounding areas. There you go "Real Westcoaster", I know the area because I live here. And don't forget all the Fishery people who make their living on the waters, they depend on a healthy environment for their living too!

  • a business man
    August 02, 2013 - 11:03

    Honestly, everyone has the right to advocate for what they want. For example, I am invested in the tourism industries of the other Atlantic Provinces, so anything that harms our local tourism is good for me because it might divert tourists away from Newfoundland. As a taxpayer and voter, wishing for the failure of the tourist industry is my right. On the other hand, I have the right the assemble the uninformed to support my cause, as the informed have a right to support whatever they want. Lastly, I want rural Newfoundland to fail because I want everyone to move to the city. I will benefit from this because I am a residential landlord and the increased demand for rental housing will allow me to charge higher rents for properties that I have already fully paid off. Also, more people in the city means a greater selection of workers.

  • Politically Incorrect
    August 02, 2013 - 07:52

    The arguments against fracking are well known and well documented. Your allusions to industries in the Stephenville area are red herrings; they have nothing to do with an industry that could have far-reaching and long-term effects on the well-being of residents. However your ad hominem characterizations against those who oppose this dangerous industry as either dilatants or unemployed are insulting and demonstrate the feebleness of your (non) argument.. Firstly, whether or not someone is unemployed has no bearing on his or her right to express an opinion – especially an informed one. Secondly, these “dilatants” include scores of geologists and other scientists who have spent decades studying the environmental impacts of fracking. It’s also clear that the jobs created by this industry will be few and short-term. Finally, there is no great Avalon conspiracy against the west coast.

    • Cindy
      August 02, 2013 - 13:00

      I agree with you "Politically Incorrect". Thank you for supporting Newfoundlands well being. At the very least, our Government should hold true to their commentment to the people of Newfoundland, and recognize that with the risks of fracking, why not have a moratorium on fracking like Quebec is in the process of. In Quebec, the proposed moratorium would last for five years or until new regulations on shale gas exploration are in place. That way, the Government can look into the impact of the shale-gas industry more closely, not rush into something without full knowledge of the outcome. I hope to see a total ban on fracking, indefinitely!!! We need to look at cleaner energy options, leave the fossil fuel where it is, future generations will thank us all for that.

  • Cindy
    August 02, 2013 - 07:41

    Reactionary squeamishness??? Do you have any idea of the health and environmental risks of fracking? I chose to live in Newfoundland because of the clean environment. Nevertheless, if you want to base the decision weather or not fracking should take place on the economy alone, I doubt that the number of jobs created by fracking will be even close to the number of jobs LOST if fracking proceeds, i.e. Fishery and Tourism sector. Most of the West coast economy is based on our Fishery and Tourism. The person who wrote this article lives in Toronto, he should take a trip here and drive from Port au Port, then up the Northern Pennsuila, and see all the businesses that are thriving due to Tourism. We know for sure, that if fracking is approved, Gros Morne National Park will lose its "National Park" Status, this will indeed effect the entire west coast in a very negative way. I believe if anyone lived here or visited, and looked at the greatest renewable resource that Newfoundland has ever had, "The Environment", they would understand why so many people want to protect it above all else. It is something we should all value, a place where you can go to get back to nature, not an industrial disaster. Thank you Cindy

  • Cashin Delaney
    August 02, 2013 - 06:57

    You are right, beauty and art have no place in a conservative political economy. How dare these scardycats fear drilling for oil in the gulf region. We need jobs at all costs. Barry Stagg has invested in a moribund spectical of a letter and some penny stock (options?) and must be listened to. If the old people were foolish enough to enact strict environmental and heritage preservation laws we may never have developed any of our limestone and trees. Oil is the future, not all that other hippy crap.

    • Cindy
      August 02, 2013 - 12:50

      Just one question for you Cashin Delaney, how do you justify the loss of employment that fracking will cause to our Fishery and Tourism industry, which presently is flourishing?? Minimal job creating with fracking will not equal what our environment can do for our future, the possibilities for tourism is endless if marketed correctly. Oil is not our future, Oil will be the ruination of our future!!!

    • a business man
      August 04, 2013 - 10:14

      Cindy, I justify the loss of employment that will fracking will cause to the fishery and tourism industries in the following manner: I get no benefit from the fishery and I have nothing to lose with its demise, so I support fracking because I will not be the one losing out on anything. I support the demise of the tourism industry because I want the tourists to visit the other atlantic provinces instead. I want tourists to forget that newfoundland exists. As a taxpayer and voter, I support fracking no matter the cost, and I especially support fracking if fracking will cause hardships to others while providing ME with a benefit. I want what is best for ME, and when voting, I vote for what is best for ME. Cindy, your best interests, and the interests of the other citizens is not important to me. I have nothing against you, but I have no stake in your success either. So let's get fracking!