Scientist in N.B. to tell hydro-fracking story
One of the country's biggest critics to hydraulic fracking is in New Brunswick for two days to speak to people concerned about shale gas exploration.
Jessica Ernst, a scientist, said she believes hydro-fracking in her Alberta community polluted her well with methane gas and other chemicals.
"I began getting a terrible rash, I had irritated eyes after bathing," she said.
Ernst is suing the province, its energy conservation board and EnCana for $33 million. She said all the parties were negligent and she wants New Brunswickers to know about the risks.
"Even with a methane detector in my home, if the detector went off, most likely I would blow up before I got to the door because it just takes a light switch or a spark to ignite," she told CBC News.
"I don't want to live with that."
Provincial Environment Minister Margaret-Ann Blaney said she vows to learn from the mistakes of other provinces before hydro-fracking happens in New Brunswick.
She said she will implement the toughest regulations in the country.
"If we can't do it responsibly and safely and absolutely protect our drinking water and the environment, ensuring the safety of all of that, then we're not going to do it," Blaney said.
Ernst is skeptical.
"If they cannot get EnCana to heed the regulations and the laws in place to protect ground water in Alberta, you're not going to have a chance of getting the companies to do that here," Ernst said.
That's what Stephanie Merrill with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick worries about.
"It's one thing to do your homework and put in place regulations to help minimize your impacts," Merrill said.
"But this industry has inherent risk and impacts that you can't regulate away."
Merrill said the province needs to be upfront about the potential impacts of hydro-fracking on water, air quality and on their health.
"It doesn't matter how far down the seismic program or even how far down the exploratory drilling or the hydraulic fracturing has taken place," Ernst said.
"We can put a stop to this."
Ernst will be speaking in Upham on Friday and Memramcook on Saturday.