Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities supports creation of a Coastal Zone Act and a moratorium on fracking

Union adds voice to call for moratorium on fracking, Unifor says it has concerns about worker safety and long-term sustainability by CBC News, November 18, 2013
Atlantic director Lana Payne says her union represents more than 20,000 workers in the energy sector and has been discussing and developing a national energy strategy which led to the decision about fracking. “The position that we did end up with is that we would call for a Canada-wide ban on unconventional fracking until such time that environmental and safety concerns could be adequately addressed,” Payne said. Payne says she shares the concerns many New Brunswickers have expressed about the impact fracking could have on the environment and the water. But she says Unifor is also worried about the safety of workers. “We have been aware of some studies in the U.S. that show implications in terms of what workers are breathing in, in terms of the work there, and it is a bit of a gold rush type of industry at the moment.” Payne says with this kind of an approach, worker safety is often not at the top of the list of priorities. “We virtually have very little regulation or laws to deal with fracking in the country.” Over the weekend Premier David Alward argued the most successful provinces in the country are the ones that are taking advantage of their natural resources, which is what New Brunswick also has to do. …

Payne says Unifor is finalizing a sustainable energy strategy for Canada and after her research she doesn’t believe shale gas fits in. “We’re building infrastructure around an energy source that isn’t exactly the greenest that we could be looking at and certainly not the most long term source of energy,” Payne said. She is sympathetic to the challenges Alward is facing and understands he is doing whatever he can to encourage economic development, but Payne says Canadians don’t want jobs at any cost. “We have to be very careful getting into these new types of energy production that really is just, in the end, it’s about energy companies making a lot of profit and leaving behind quite a mess.” Payne says she has heard from many workers in New Brunswick who are also concerned about the economic troubles the province is facing. “But they also understand that they live there and they want to be able to have a good place to live.”

“Of course we want to see job creation but at what cost and at what long term implications for the safety of the people in that industry and for the safety of the citizens of New Brunswick.”

Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities supports creation of a Coastal Zone Act and a moratorium on fracking, Municipalities Leading the Way by Ecology Action Centre, November 13, 2013, Halifax Media Coop

Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Resolutions–108th Annual Conference, Halifax, NS, November 5-8, 2013

Mayor Carl Chisholm, Town of Antigonish
Mayor David Corkum, Town of Kentville (CHAIR)
Mr. Louis Coutinho, AMANS Immediate Past-President
Councillor Gregory Heming, County of Annapolis
Deputy Mayor Laurie Murley, Town of Windsor
Councillor Lorelei Nicoll, Halifax Regional Municipality
Councillor Clarence Prince, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
Councillor Deborah Wadden, County of Pictou

Resolution 2C

WHEREAS hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas and other fossil fuels often involves the injection of hundreds of toxic chemicals into the ground; and
WHEREAS hydraulic fracturing uses massive amounts of water, as much as millions of litres per fracking “job”; and
WHEREAS there have been more than 1,000 documented cases of water contamination near fracking sites in the U.S. and some people, such as in Rosebud, Alberta, have well water that now contains so much natural gas they can light their drinking water on fire; and
WHEREAS the pollution of water caused by fracking may threaten the long-term economic, social and ecological well-being of communities that depend on clean water sources to meet their basic needs; and
WHEREAS the treatment of fracking wastewater may strain municipal wastewater systems and puts water sources at risk since wastewater treatment systems may not be capable of removing endocrine disruptors and other toxic chemicals from fracking wastewater; and
WHEREAS more study is needed on the impact of hydraulic fracturing on localized air pollution which can have adverse health effects; and
WHEREAS while the industry claims that natural gas is a cleaner fuel, some independent studies have shown that hydraulic fracturing creates more lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than mining and burning coal and clearly more scientific study is needed; and
WHEREAS water and air are shared commons and public trusts and as such require genuine public consultation and a process that enables communities to be a part of the decision making process; and
WHEREAS on September 23, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council passed Resolution A/HRC/18/L.1 affirming the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation and as such contamination of drinking water by fracking fluids is a violation of this and other human rights;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the UNSM support a province-wide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until provincial and federal reviews have been completed that include extensive public consultation and full consideration of the potential human and environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the UNSM also call for dialogue between First Nations, federal, provincial and municipal governments on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that extensive public consultation and full consideration be given for protocols and procedures to address fracking water and the eventual disposal of this byproduct through wastewater treatment plant facilities.
COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION: The Committee recommends this resolution. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

Hydraulic Fracturing in Canada, Federal Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan Reports Concerns, List of Fracking Substances in Canada Still Secret 

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

Local councils to be stripped of right to decide on fracking, Ministers are hoping to speed up Britain’s shale gas “revolution” by taking away powers from local councils to decide on controversial fracking projects

Laurie Blakeman questions Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen on Groundwater and Hydraulic Fracturing, McQueen responds “That’s a silly question” when asked about baseline water testing before fracing

NEWS ALERT: Water Supply for Hamlet of Rosebud Contaminated

Wheatland County exploring options for replacing Rosebud Hamlet water tower after accumulation of gases caused it to explode some months after Encana perforated and hydraulically fractured the aquifers that supply drinking water to the community

Investigators say an accumulation of gases appears to have caused the explosion that destroyed the Rosebud water tower and sent a Wheatland County employee to hospital ]

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