Emergency Advisory: Mi’kmaq say, “We are still here, and SWN will not be allowed to frack.” Sacred Fire blockade to begin at noon on Nov. 4

Emergency Advisory: Mi’kmaq say, “We are still here, and SWN will not be allowed to frack.” Sacred Fire blockade to begin at noon on Nov. 4 Press Release by the Elsipogtog community and people of the Mi’kmaq nation

The Elsipogtog community and the people of the Mi’kmaq nation are responding to SWN’s stated intention to resume shale gas exploration in New Brunswick. Community members and traditional people will come together to light a Sacred Fire to stop SWN from passing, in order to ensure that the company cannot resume work to extract shale gas via fracking. The Sacred Fire will last a minimum of four days and is supported by the Mi’kmaq people and the community of Elsipogtog. This comes as part of a larger campaign that reunites Indigenous, Acadian & Anglo people.

This is also an act of reclamation, as Mi’kmaq people are using the land in a traditional way, and are exercising their treaty rights, which includes ceremonial practices. The Mi’kmaq people have not been sufficiently consulted over shale gas exploitation and do not support SWN working on their territory. The Sacred Fire blockade is also supported by the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society and the Highway 134 encampment. “SWN is violating our treaty rights. We are here to save our water and land, and to protect our animals and people. There will be no fracking at all,” says Louis Jerome, a Mi’kmaq sun dancer. “We are putting a sacred fire here, and it must be respected. We are still here, and we’re not backing down.” [Emphasis added]

Despite fracking opposition, Alward to press on with natural gas as N.B. Throne Speech nears by Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press, November 4, 2013, The Globe and Mail
New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative Premier says he is poised to push ahead with natural gas development despite a rising public backlash as his government prepares to unveil its legislative agenda in a Throne Speech. Premier David Alward, who is entering the final year of his mandate, is tying his hopes of an economic turnaround to a burgeoning shale gas industry, announcing on Monday a new royalty regime that his government hopes will encourage greater investment in the sector. … But Mr. Alward’s desire to generate revenues from shale gas could raise the ire of New Brunswickers, some of whom have already expressed sharp disapproval of the government’s stand on the issue. … Still, Mr. Alward has not budged. “We believe that if we’re able to move these files forward, we will have a stronger province and we are determined to do it,” Mr. Alward said in an interview. “I know that is not easy, but we are focused on it and will continue to be.” Liberal Leader Brian Gallant has repeatedly called for a moratorium on shale gas development, saying all the environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing are not yet known. “The price for natural gas is at an all-time low, so it only makes sense for us to say let’s press pause,” Mr. Gallant said. [Emphasis added]

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