Mi’kmaq chiefs opposed to Colchester County decision on fracking wastewater

Mi’kmaq chiefs opposed to Colchester County decision on fracking wastewater by Harry Sullivan, April 1, 2013, Truro Daily  
The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs are speaking out against a recent decision by the County of Colchester to discharge fracking wastewater into the municipal sewer system. Approval was granted last week by the municipality’s Public Works Department for Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) in Debert to discharge 4.5 million litres of fracking wastewater it is storing in lagoons on the property. The decision is effective May 26 pending any appeals and a review of analytical information from the company. Appeals must be filed in writing to the county no later than April 10. Following announcement of the decision, the Assembly of Chiefs issued a press release stating their displeasure at the decision. “The Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia have been extremely vocal on their concerns on hydraulic fracturing and its potential effects to the environment,” said Chief Gerard Julian, co-chair of the Assembly and Lead Chief of Energy. “The Chiefs are adamant that discussions need to happen about the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing before any decisions are made.” The Assembly has been in constant contact with the provincial government on a comprehensive review being undertaken by the province on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, Julian said. The Mi’kmaq have been told that the results of this review are not expected until mid-2014 and that the province would put a hold on any fracking activity until the study is complete. Julian said the assembly has extended its concerns to all levels of government and that it “will continue to work to ensure that our lands and waters are protected.” Speaking specifically of the Municipality of Colchester’s decision, Julian said the chiefs feel it is “premature,” as officials “are not fully informed on the impacts of their decision” without the results of the provincial study. “The primary concern for the Mi’kmaq is to avoid any irreparable harm to the environment,” he said. “This water will eventually find its way into the Bay of Fundy and as of yet there is no real way of knowing if it will have affects on our fish and wildlife.” The chiefs will be meeting to explore options for appealing the municipality’s decision on behalf of the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia. [Emphasis added]

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