Crosbie column a disappointment

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It was with great disappointment that I read John Crosbie’s Oct. 5 column, “West coast hoping for its own oil boom.” Mr. Crosbie is our former lieutenant-governor and one of our most cherished elders.

I gave more than 20 presentations on behalf of the Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group, and was discouraged to find Mr. Crosbie gave Black Spruce’s proposal to frack the Green Point shale unqualified endorsement while ignoring the urgent and growing concerns of west coast residents.

Why should we be concerned about fracking? Look at other jurisdictions in Canada where fracking has taken place. In Alberta, the National Farmers Union has demanded a moratorium on fracking. In January 2011, fracking fluid contaminated the groundwater water supply in Grande Prairie, Alta. There is a moratorium on fracking in Quebec and, since the ban has been invoked, 19 of the 31 wells that have been fracked are leaking and attempts to seal them have been unsuccessful. The small village of Kennetcook, N.S., now has radioactive waste-water ponds thanks to the 2006 fracking efforts by Triangle Resources, and Environment Nova Scotia has no way to safely dispose of the toxic waste water. In New Brunswick, thousands of private citizens are standing up to their government and the oil and gas industry, firmly rejecting fracking. Fracking is a worldwide concern as citizens try to protect their health and the environment.  France recently established an unequivocal ban on fracking. Other jurisdictions are entertaining similar restrictions. 

I often make presentations on fracking with Dr. Ian Simpson, a graduate of Cambridge and a well-respected family physician. Dr. Simpson clearly and passionately outlines a long list of health concerns associated with fracking. Dr. Edwin Bezzina,  who teaches history at Grenfell College, has written a paper outlining the negative side-effects likely to occur if Black Spruce Exploration proceeds with fracking operations. Bezzina maintains that our $1-billion tourism industry will be severely impacted.

Black Spruce Exploration is a freshly minted company with no experience. Why are they being allowed to experiment with this dangerous technology in our coastal environment?

George Langdon, former president and CEO of Shoal Point Energy, the company that has already drilled a conventional well in this area stated: “It’s a bit of a wild frontier still,” referring to drilling at Shoal Point. Larry Boyd, director of geoscience at AJM Deloitte, the Calgary consulting firm that Shoal Point hired to evaluate its Green Point potential, said: “The shale is really broken up quite a bit and when a shale is broken like that, it can be very difficult to drill. It’s difficult just to get a hole that will stay together.”

These remarks increase concern among residents of the west coast. The Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group  does not want a junior oil company playing Russian roulette with our health, environment and way of life.


Graham Oliver

presenter with the Port au Port/

Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group

Organizations: Grenfell College, Shoal Point Energy

Geographic location: Port au Port, Green Point, Canada Alberta Farmers Union Grande Prairie Quebec Kennetcook New Brunswick France Cambridge Calgary

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Recent comments

  • Diane Murphy
    October 20, 2013 - 10:45

    I have to ask the same question as Mr. Oliver--"Why are they being allowed to experiment with this dangerous technology in our coastal environment?"

  • Cindy
    October 20, 2013 - 04:38

    I agree with Graham. I don't think Mr. Crosbie talked to many residence of the west coast, because if he did, he would have realized that the majority are against fracking. There are way too many risks involved with fracking. Our Government should make the Health and Safety of its residence its number one priority. This is our home, and we want to keep it clean and safe. Thank you