Nova Scotia

Guysborough wants other communities to ask province to end fracking ban

The Municipality of the District of Guysborough is urging other Nova Scotia communities to follow its lead and ask the province to remove its ban on fracking.

Municipality recently wrote to premier asking that his government remove the 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 Municipality of the District of Guysborough is urging other Nova Scotia communities to ask the province to remove its ban on fracking.

While Guysborough has no shale gas within its boundaries, it sees itself as a potential processing town should any of the $60 billion worth of shale gas estimated to be in Nova Scotia ever be extracted.

"We've been doing it in Canada for quite a long time as well as the U.S. and other parts of the world, so it's not an unproven technology," said Barry Carroll, CAO for the municipality. "And every day that we're alive that becomes safer and safer."

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.

Letter to municipalities

The municipality has written to all the municipalities in the Strait area asking that they contact the premier and ask him to repeal the ban on fracking.

So far, the Town of Mulgrave has agreed to write a letter to the premier. Antigonish will consider the request at its next council meeting.

Port Hawkesbury Coun. Trevor Boudreau said his council discussed it but didn't make any decision about writing a letter.

"We're politicians, not frackers," Boudreau said. 

Boudreau said his council wants to get an understanding of "what's changed in the past three years, what makes it safer, what makes it better" and to get a sense of what the local business community thinks about fracking.

Premier Stephen McNeil said he won't reconsider the ban unless a community in Nova Scotia can show a consensus to lift it.

So far no oil and gas company has expressed interest in exploration.


Preston Mulligan has been a reporter in the Maritimes for more than 20 years. Along with his reporting gig, he also hosts CBC Radio's Sunday phone-in show, Maritime Connection.