First Penobsquis, now Stoney Creek — what’s next?

First Penobsquis, now Stoney Creek — what’s next? Water woes contradict government line on gas regulations by Jim Emberger, August 7, 2012, Daily Gleaner
It is clear that the arguments for safely developing shale gas are being contradicted. Government statements that New Brunswick has experienced no problems during its drilling history are disputed by the recent news that a drilling accident in Stoney Creek, near Moncton, may have contaminated groundwater. Of course, folks in Penobsquis, near Sussex, have challenged those statements for years, as they believe that gas drilling was complicit in the loss of their water wells. Penobsquis also experienced extreme losses in property values, a fate that Stoney Creek wants the government to help it avoid. Another similarity exists between Penobsquis and Stoney Creek. Penobsquis citizens were left on their own to fight multi-billion dollar corporations. In Stoney Creek, the government offered nothing more than the sage advice to “not drink” the contaminated water. This calls into question the regulatory process from beginning to end. Did the drillers know they were near an aquifer? … Why was there no investigation or assistance in getting compensation? … The truth is that no regulatory system has rendered shale gas safe. … We don’t know if Stoney Creek residents’ health problems are from water contamination. But we do know that the only long-term health study, by the University of Colorado, found a 66 per cent increase in the risk of developing cancer and other diseases for those living within one half mile of a gas well’s air pollution. Note that New Brunswick’s proposed “toughest” regulations allow wells 250 metres from houses and 500 metres from schools. … Industry is dealing with the bad news with a multi-million dollar happy-talk media campaign. How will our government react — both to the current incident, and the mounting evidence that shale gas cannot be done safely?

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