Nfld. & Labrador

Western Newfoundland group calls for fracking moratorium

A group in western Newfoundland has called for a moratorium on fracking in the province.
Shoal Point Energy is interested in doing exploratory fracking work in three locations on Newfoundland's west coast.

A group in western Newfoundland has called for a moratorium on fracking in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

West Coast Citizens against Fracking said there are too many unknowns about the process.

In hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, chemically treated water and sand are injected into a well to free natural gas and oil from formerly inaccessible rock formations. 

Spokesperson Angie Payne said more information is needed about the effects of fracking before it's given a green light in the province. 

"Our group would just like to put things on hold and make sure that it is safe. And, like we said the oil is not going anywhere — it's been there millions of years, why not wait?" said Payne.  

Payne said some of the chemicals involved in fracking are known carcinogens, and the companies involved don't have to reveal exactly which chemicals are being used. 

"We don't even know what they're using and they're not required to tell us … that seems a little bit ludicrous really," Payne told CBC.

Shoal Point Energy wants to use fracking to explore for oil at three locations in Western Newfoundland.

Environment Minister Tom Hedderson said the company has to yet to file any of its projects for environmental assessment.

Payne said once an environmental assessment begins, people will have just over a month to have their say on the issue. She'd like people to get engaged in the issue.

"Let's not forget that if we want our democracy to work we have to tell the government what to do, not the other way around," said Payne.