New Brunswick

SWN returns to court Monday seeking injunction extension

The energy company doing shale gas exploration in southeast New Brunswick will return to court on Monday to ask a judge to extend the time frame for the injunction holding protesters at bay.

Protesters along Highway 11 get visit from Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow

The energy company doing shale gas exploration in southeast New Brunswick will return to court on Monday to ask a judge to extend the injunction holding protesters at bay.

The injunction prohibits protesters from getting closer than 250 metres to the front or back of SWN Resources Canada trucks, and 20 metres from the side of the road where work is being done.

But the court order is set to expire, and the company says it needs more time to complete its work or it will suffer irreparable damage.

As SWN continued its seismic testing along Highway 11 on Sunday, those protesting against the work received a visit from Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow.

The well-known Canadian activist says the council fully supports protesters and called hydraulic fracking, the method of extracting shale gas, a "pernicious and terrible practice."

Barlow said the stand people in New Brunswick are taking against fracking is impressive, and the Alward government is out of step with other Atlantic Canadian provinces that have announced, or are contemplating, moratoriums on such work.

"This province wants to be the fracking centre of Canada and it’s a terrible mistake," she said. "People are going to say, 'No.'"

Morale boost

Elsipogtog chief Aaron Sock said the visit is a morale boost for the community, and suggested there will be discussions on finding new strategies to combat shale gas exploration in the area.

“What we all do here for the environment, is for our children, our grandchildren,” he said.

Out on Highway 11, protesters gathered for another day. At around 1 p.m. police blocked a section of road near Exit 64 for a short period of time. CBC reporter Matthew Bingley said he could see SWN trucks driving along the highway.

SWN recently sought the injunction from a New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench judge, arguing protesters had been hampering its work for months.

SWN says some of its equipment and trucks had been vandalized and the company claimed it was losing more than $50,000 for every day it could not do its work.

But protesters have continued to gather along the highway. RCMP said Friday that 14 people have been arrested since Monday.

There were no arrests reported over the weekend.