Town of Antigonish rejects request to lift fracking ban

Council voted unanimously after the Municipality of the District of Guysborough urged Nova Scotia communities to ask the provincial government to remove its ban on fracking.

Unanimous vote came after Guysborough urged N.S. communities to ask province to remove ban

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. (Reuters)

The Town of Antigonish won't be joining the Municipality of the District of Guysborough in asking the province to remove its ban on fracking any time soon.

Council voted unanimously Monday night against the request by Guysborough, which had previously asked Nova Scotia communities to urge the province to lift the ban.

"I think it sends a very strong message to those industry groups pushing right now that Nova Scotians still feel very strongly about fracking," said Patrick Yancey, an Antigonish resident and spokesperson for the Antigonish Blue Dot movement, an environmental group against fracking.

Banned in N.S. since 2014

The Municipality of the District of Guysborough wrote letters to all municipalities in the Strait area asking that they contact the premier to repeal the fracking ban. So far, the Town of Mulgrave has agreed.

According to a recent Energy Department analysis, Nova Scotia has between $20 billion and $60 billion worth of onshore natural gas resources

Most of those resources are in shale gas, which would require hydraulic fracturing to recover.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a way of extracting natural gas that involves injecting fluid into a well under high pressure to fracture the gas-bearing rock and release the gas inside. The province passed legislation in 2014 banning the practice.

'We don't want to have fracking'

The Municipality of the District of Guysborough wants the province to reconsider the ban because it sees itself as a potential processing area should any of the shale gas be extracted.

Prior to the council vote, a Frack for a Free Future rally was held outside town hall. Yancey said close to 100 people attended.

​"All town councillors said they heard overwhelmingly from their constituents that we don't want to have fracking in Nova Scotia or certainly anywhere closer to Antigonish," Yancey said.

But Yancey said some councillors want more information on fracking and presentations from experts in the future.

"So they might revisit the issue," he said.

About the Author

Anjuli Patil

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Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.