Gros Morne National Park official cites fracking concerns

Gros Morne official cites fracking concerns by CBC News, February 6, 2013
A Parks Canada official says staff at Gros Morne National Park are concerned about a fracking proposal in nearby Sally’s Cove. Peter Deering, resource manager for Parks Canada in western Newfoundland and Labrador, said officials have questions about how the fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, could affect the park. “We certainly have concerns around both the tourism side in terms of the experience,” said Deering. “From the environment and ecological side, in terms of what the activity might expose the park to, whether it’s anything from noise, to pollution, to increased traffic.”

Sally’s Cove is surrounded by Gros Morne National Park, and Shoal Point Energy wants to set up an exploratory drill rig in the community. The company would inject sand, water and chemicals into the ground to crack rock far underground. Shoal Point Energy is also interested in doing exploratory fracking in the Port au Port and Lark Harbour areas, starting as early as April. Deering said tourism operators in communities close to Gros Morne National Park have told him they have concerns about the fracking proposal. “If things turn out positive from an exploration perspective, they’re concerned in that there’s been considerable investment in terms of tourism industry here, and considerable experience built up and marketed for the Gros Morne area.”

On Tuesday, Canada’s environment commissioner, Scott Vaughan, singled out fracking as an area of concern in his auditor’s report on Canadian environmental regulations. “According to the government, until it has a better understanding of hydraulic fracturing, it cannot determine whether risk assessments and control measures are warranted,” wrote Vaughan. In the meantime, Deering said officials at Gros Morne National Park won’t take a stand on fracking until they find out more about the proposal from the Newfoundland and Labrador government, which regulates oil and gas exploration, and the company. [Emphasis added]

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