Nova Scotia: Inverness County residents voice fracking ban support, Council seems poised to move ahead with anti-fracking bylaw

Move to ban fracking would not supersede N.S. law: minister by The Canadian Press, January 22, 2013, CTV News
Any municipal move in Nova Scotia to ban hydraulic fracturing for gas and oil would not supersede provincial authority over mineral rights, a cabinet minister said Tuesday. Inverness county council in Cape Breton is considering a bylaw that would ban the practice, also known as fracking. The bylaw is expected to receive final reading in March. But Service Nova Scotia Minister John MacDonell said Tuesday there’s a question whether the bylaw would mean anything. MacDonell’s department is responsible for administering the Municipal Government Act, which he said gives the council no authority to make law in areas of provincial jurisdiction. “Mineral rights fall under provincial government jurisdiction and a municipal bylaw around hydraulic fracturing would not supersede provincial authority,” he said.

Inverness Warden Duart MacAulay wouldn’t address MacDonell’s comments directly, but he said the county’s legal staff worked to craft a bylaw using human rights provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He said the county council acted because of uncertainty around whether the area’s water would be protected if fracking is allowed. “If you put your drinking water and your watersheds around a certain area in jeopardy then you are taking some of those (human) rights away,” said MacAulay.

Inverness residents voice fracking ban support, Council seems poised to move ahead with anti-fracking bylaw by CBC News, January 22, 2013
Residents of Inverness County in Cape Breton spoke out overwhelmingly in favour of a bylaw that will ban hydraulic fracturing in the county at a public meeting on Monday night. About 50 people turned out for the meeting, held by the council in the Municipality of the County of Inverness. … The community has been concerned about fracking since Ontario-based PetroWorth Resources Inc. announced it wanted to drill exploratory wells near Lake Ainslie. PetroWorth has said it has no immediate plans to use fracking.

People at the public meeting thanked the council for drafting a bylaw that will ban fracking. “I just want to applaud everyone here, who’s here tonight, for caring about this issue,” said Anne Levesque, a member of the Council of Canadians, which fights for various environmental and social causes. Most people at the meeting said they don’t want to risk the county’s pristine beauty or drinking water by allowing fracking. Candy Mudge, of Glencoe Mills, said banning fracking is about protecting Cape Breton’s beauty and looking for other ways to create jobs. Mudge is originally from Wood River in Illinois, a town that once had a large oil refinery.

The bylaw would forbid any type of fracking in the Municipality of the County of Inverness and would levy fines of $10,000 a day against violators.

Some residents want the county to go even further and ban any type of oil or gas exploration. Duart MacAulay, the warden of the Municipality of the County of Inverness, said the debate over a wider ban is for another time. For now, he’s confident the community’s stance against fracking is the right one. “We feel right now our people want something in place that will assure them that fracking will not be and their drinking water will not be in jeopardy because of hydraulic fracking,” said MacAulay. There’s no fracking allowed right now in Nova Scotia while the province reviews the practice. Even if that moratorium is lifted, MacAulay said he’s confident the new bylaw will keep fracking out of Inverness County. The bylaw to ban fracking has passed its first reading in Inverness County council and will go through its second reading in March. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

Wheatland County (Alberta) Councillors call for Fracking Halt until Protective Methods are Developed ]

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