ns-jennifer-west-4col

Jennifer West, a geologist with the Ecology Action Centre, says there should be a 10-year moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia. (CBC)

The Ecology Action Centre is calling for a 10-year moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia, saying the practice risks contaminating drinking and groundwater.

Next week is the deadline for submissions to Nova Scotia’s hydraulic fracking review, which is being led by Cape Breton University president David Wheeler.

Jennifer West, a geologist with the Ecology Action Centre, says there are concerns about methane leaks related to fracking in the United States.

"After 30 years of those wells being there, 60 per cent of those wells are leaking," West said. "That's what industry has told us. We’re not comfortable with those kinds of risk values applied to our drinking water."

In 2012, the previous NDP government announced a two-year moratorium on fracking.

Fracking involves pumping pressurized liquid that includes chemicals into a well to split the surrounding rock and release crude oil, natural gas or coalbed methane.

Fracking has been controversial in this region, especially in New Brunswick where testing for shale gas has prompted protests and roadblocks.

West said there’s evidence the economic bump that fracking brought to towns in Texas and Pennsylvania ultimately proved temporary, and costly.

"There is a small amount of economic activity that comes with these drillers and the truck drivers," she said.

"But really that’s quite short-term. Within five years a lot of those jobs are gone and they’re left with roads that are impassable and need to be repaved."