Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)
Fracking is the process of extracting fossil fuels from tight rock formations underground using a combination of horizontal drilling and high-volume slick-water injection into long laterals. Put simply- forcing water, sand and chemicals into rock formations deep underground to release the trapped oil and gas. It is a complex issue because it is associated with serious impacts at the surface (e.g. heavy truck traffic, transport of materials and chemicals, air pollution from diesel and gas well flaring, high volume surface water extraction, and wastewater production, storage, transportation and treatment) and also underground (e.g. injection of water and chemical mixture into the ground, at high pressures, with little understanding of short- and long-term environmental and health impacts, and which correlates to tremors and earthquakes in some areas). In Nova Scotia, fracking occurred in the Kennetcook area in 2007 and 2008 – five exploration boreholes were drilled and fracking was used in three of these wells.
As the founder of the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition (NOFRAC) – a volunteer-based organization with almost 200 members across the province – the Ecology Action Centre is currently the chair of the steering committee. NOFRAC published a report on fracking in Nova Scotia, “Out of Control: Nova Scotia’s experience with fracking for shale gas”, which is available here. Please visit www.nofrac.com for more information on this coalition, and to get involved.
The mandate of NOFRAC and the Ecology Action Centre are as follows:
Given the overall risk of serious, long-term, irreversible damage to the environment and to human health, and
Given the lack of extensive peer-reviewed, independent scientific research analyzing the immediate and potential long-term and cumulative impacts and risks of shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing, and
Given that, of the existing peer-reviewed papers, most indicate cause for grave concern,
Nova Scotia should ban the development of shale gas and hydraulic fracturing, or, at the very least, enact a moratorium on shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing for hydrocarbons for a minimum of 10 years.
How to get involved
- Join NOFRAC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Follow NOFRAC on Facebook or Twitter
- Start a group in your area, or join an existing group
- Organize a presentation by the Ecology Action Centre’s Geoscience Coordinator, or by a NOFRAC steering committee member
- Organize a film screening (e.g. Gasland, Split Estate, Shattered Ground, Promised Land)
To learn more about fracking, and share what you learn with people in your community, visit some of our friends in other parts of the province:
- Fracking and Health
- Responsible Energy Action Antigonish
- East Hants Fracking Opposition Group
Provincial Review of Fracking
In 2011, the Nova Scotia government initiated an internal review of hydraulic fracturing, accompanied with a pause on any exploration and development activities using fracking. This review was scheduled to be completed in 2012, but in the spring of 2012 was extended by two years. In 2013, the government altered the structure of the review from an internal government-based review, to a broader review led by an independent chair. The current review is in the process of developing a list of panel members from over 70 nominations from the public, and is set to be completed in the spring of 2014.
To learn more about the provincial review of fracking, visit the Hydraulic Fracturing Independent Review and Public Consultation website, http://www.cbu.ca/hfstudy.
The Ecology Action Centre has been working to build a healthier, more sustainable Nova Scotia since 1971.
Ecology Action Centre
2705 Fern Lane
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3K 4L3
Phone: (902) 429-2202
Fax: (902) 405-3716
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