New Brunswick

Anti-shale gas fight not over, Kent County protesters vow

Shale gas industry opponents in Kent County say they will resume their protests if SWN Resources Canada resumes exploration in September as anticipated.

SWN Resources Canada expected to resume seismic testing in area in September

Shale gas industry opponents in Kent County say they will resume their protests if SWN Resources Canada resumes exploration in September as anticipated 2:08

Anti-shale gas protesters in Kent County say SWN Resources Canada is winding down its exploration activities after spending the past two months in the area.

Protester Ann Pohl referred to the news as "armistice day."

But she and others expect seismic testing will resume in mid-September and say they will be ready to continue to fight.

SWN officials declined to comment on the company's plans.

Former Elsipogtog chief Susan Levi-Peters says SWN Resources Canada should consult with the community before it resumes testing. (CBC)

Susan Levi-Peters, a member of Elsipogtog First Nation and a former chief, says SWN plans to do the next round of testing close to the borders of the reserve.

She wants the company to hold meetings with the community before crews return.

"If they were to come back in September, that they are not allowed to come back unless they get the full consent from the people of Elsipogtog. So now they have time to do consultation and get the consent from the people," said Levi-Peters.

"If they don't get that, we told them at the meeting that we won't allow testing in September and this time the warriors and us we'll be back again from Day 1," she said, referring to a meeting organized by the RCMP earlier this week.

Some charges to be dropped

About 35 people were arrested during recent protests in Kent County. (CBC)

Peters has asked police to drop charges against the people who were arrested at protests in the area in recent weeks.

Warrior chief John Levi told CBC News the RCMP have agreed to drop 25 of 35 charges.

Charges against people who have already entered the system, including Levi, are expected to proceed.

Earlier this month, a group of mayors from the area asked for a moratorium on shale gas exploration and a meeting with the province's energy minster.

The Kent Regional Service Commission voted 16-1 in favour on July 18. Chairman Marc Henri said they want more consultation and better communications between the communities, the provincial government and SWN Resources Canada.

Although regional service commissions do not usually intervene in this manner, Henri said members felt they had a moral mandate to speak up on the issue.

The Alward government has repeatedly rejected the idea of imposing a moratorium on the shale gas industry.

Premier David Alward called the Liberal party’s demand for a moratorium on the industry "anti-jobs" in May.

Tensions have flared over the possible development of a shale gas industry in New Brunswick and in particular, the use of hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydro-fracking.

It is a process where exploration companies inject a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground, creating cracks in shale rock formations, which allows companies to extract natural gas from areas that would otherwise go untapped.

Opponents have raised several concerns about the process, such as the use of chemicals, the potential to ruin water supplies, noise from the operations and the potential to damage the local environment.