New Brunswick

Moncton should reconsider bulk water sales

The Council of Canadians is calling on Moncton city councillors to revisit its policy that is allowing bulk water sales to an oil drilling company that is using a controversial mining technique.

Council of Canadians calls for full public consultation on water sales to mining company

The Council of Canadians is calling on Moncton city councillors to revisit its policy that is allowing bulk water sales to an oil drilling company that is using a controversial mining technique.

Brent Patterson, a spokesperson for the citizens organization, said Moncton council should have fully debated the issue and asked for public input before allowing six to eight tanker truck loads of water to be sold every day from the Turtle Creek Reservoir.

The water is being used by Apache Canada in a controversial process called hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, at its mine near Sussex.

The fracking process forces chemically treated water two kilometres into the ground in an effort to break shale and release natural gas. The water that comes back is polluted and has to be trucked away.

Patterson said there is concern across the country about hydraulic fracturing.

"Our position certainly would be that selling drinking water at any price to be destroyed by — in a fracking process — is just bad public policy," Patterson said.

"We really do feel that the debate should not be about whether Apache should be charged more for the water but rather the debate should be about the damage that is done to water through the fracking process."

Patterson is calling for a full debate and public consultation on this issue.

Patterson said this is the first time he's heard of a city selling drinking water for fracking.

Some Moncton councillors have asked city staff to look at the price that's being charged for water as well as who can buy it.

Moncton sells its bulk water for $1.58 a cubic metre compared to $4.88 charged by Sussex, which would have been closer for the mining company.