The man hired by the Nova Scotia government to review fracking is touring the province — and David Wheeler now knows many people at the public meeting in Tatamagouche do not want it approved.
Dozens of people packed into the Tatamagouche Centre Monday evening for the fourth of 11 public meetings scheduled over the next few days.
"We are taking a highly precautionary approach here," said the president of Cape Breton University.
Wheeler was greeted by a crowd that shared its opposition to fracking.
"We are a group of people who have educated ourselves and have done research and interviewed experts and scientists and even people from the industry who told us watch out,” said Hanna Hunziker.
Sometime next month Wheeler will present the government with his final report.
"We do believe there's a possibility of learning from our report, learning from other things going on across Canada. So we're certainly not saying that this will never happen in our province but what we are saying is that there is a lot of learning to be done first."
Many people at the meeting expressed concerns over the impact of fracking on ground water.
"If you have companies who want to take millions of gallons of public water and destroy it through fracking — that's a public issue, that's an issue of concern to us all," said Doug Rigby.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into a well bore to fracture the surrounding rock and release the trapped hydrocarbons, usually natural gas, coalbed methane or crude oil.
There are several more public meetings scheduled for other parts of the province, including one planned for Kennetcook, an area where there has already been an interest in bringing shale gas out of the ground and test wells already drilled.