By Graham Oliver
Port au Port Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group
Hi folks in other provinces and countries; My name is Graham Oliver and I live on the island of Newfoundland in Canada and we are being targeted for fracking. The Government is presently conducting an External Panel Review on Hydraulic Fracturing and in my opinion, the deck is stacked against us. As you know, we live in a world of instantaneous communication and networking is now just a few key clicks away. By using online communication we are hoping to connect with other NO FRACK groups and citizens in order to maximize our support in our campaign to Keep NL Frack Free. Below is some background information about Fracking in NL that will help bring you up to speed. I have also listed a Toolkit on how you can help us. You have no idea how much we would appreciate your support. I encourage you to circulate this email far and wide. We need to flood the Panel with submissions and it is important to have people send letters to the editors if we are to win this campaign.
The Target for Fracking in NL
The map above shows Port au Port Bay. Local artist, Reed Weir produced the poster using a slide from a Shoal Point Energy promotional slide show that SPE, a very small junior oil company, pitched to investors. The long point of land that juts out into the bay on the right side of the map is Shoal Point. Shoal Point Energy (SPE), holds leases on a number of properties in the Green Point Shale which extends from the Port au Port Peninsula (above) in the south, up the coastline, past Gros Morne National Park (150 km stretch to the north). Over the years several wells have been drilled on the site with no success. The well pad on Shoal Point is 75 metres from the ocean and is about 1 metre + above high water mark. Lobster boats and fishers’ cabins are located within 30 metres of the drilling pad. There has been no drilling activity at the site since 2011. The major oil companies drilled several exploratory wells on the leased properties in the 90s, but they were unsuccessful and pulled out. The juniors followed with a promise to make everyone who invested in them rich. The price of Shoal Point Energy was trading at 50 cents three years ago and now it is at a half a cent. But the juniors refuse to give up and the Government seems to be in full support of their efforts to use directional drilling to drill from onshore to offshore targets. Drilling from onshore to offshore is very rare and poses all kinds of additional risks. It should also be noted that if something goes wrong with oil exploration/development on the NL coastline of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it can potentially be felt in all the Atlantic provinces, as well as Quebec. It is therefore important for all the eastern provinces to be concerned about onshore to offshore fracking in NL.
The Players in the NL Fracking Game
In 2013, Shoal Point Energy (SPE) applied to the Government for an amendment to their drilling license to allow them to frack. They also began holding meetings in rural communities to inform residents that they wanted to frack a well at Shoal Point. This caused a great deal of controversy complete with demonstrations and lively public forums. A number of concerned citizens groups formed on the west coast (mostly rural) and also in St. John’s.
Controversy Over the Panel Review
In August Minister Derrick Dalley called for a Panel review … arguably to win the favour of the electorate in a by-election. In October, Dalley announced a 5-man Panel. Three of the Panel members, namely Dr. Maurice Dusseault (Engineer at University Waterloo), Dr. Graham Gagnon (Engineer at Dalhousie U.) and Dr. Wade Locke (economist from Memorial University of Newfoundland) have already stated in the media that they are in favour of fracking (with good regulations). Minister Dalley already has new Draft Regulations for Fracking up on the website (Part 3 of the Trilogy on the Panel website). Considering the views of three Panel members and the Department of Natural Resources proactive approach with new regulations all ready to go, you can see why we are concerned and need all the help we can get in this campaign.
Tool Kit for Out-of- Province Supporters
*Help Keep NL Frack Free*
- Write a brief letter to the editor stating that you read that the NL Government is considering allowing Fracking to go ahead in Newfoundland and Labrador. In your letter, ask why is NL thinkig of going ahead with fracking when most jurisdictions are imposing moratoria and bans … say that it’s bad for tourism … tourists come to NL to see coastlines, icebergs and whales and not oil rigs … some tourists have already sent letters saying that if fracking goes ahead then they will not be coming to NL as a tourist … tell them that it will affect the fishery … that the Green Point shale is fractured and vaulted and deformed and not suitable for fracking (NL Geological Report)
Newspapers: Telegram in St. John’s: http://www.thetelegram.com/Contact-Us
Western Star Corner Brook: http://www.thewesternstar.com/Contact-Us
- Make a submission to the Panel http://nlhfrp.ca/submit-feedback-to-the-panel/ … no one said you couldn’t (submission process explained below)
- If you have friends, or relatives in NL encourage them to make a submission
- Call in to one of the three VOCM talk shows in this province to tell about your views on Fracking.
VOCM Openline with Paddy Daley Mon. – Fri. 1-888-590-8626
VOCM TalkBack with Peter Soucy Mon. – Fri. 1-888-590-8626
VOCM Nightline with Jonathan Richler Mon. – Thurs 1-888-590-8626
- Join us on Facebook Page … Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group … presently has 2400 members … we want over 3000 so that we have more voice. NL-FAN: http://www.nlfan.ca/
Making A Submission to the
External Panel Review on Hydraulic Fracturing
In order to have an effective ENVIRONMENTAL VOICE it is imperative that citizens participate in the submission process. The submission process is very simple (below).
- Proceed to the Website Link : Make a Submission http://nlhfrp.ca/submit-feedback-to-the-panel/
- Scroll to the bottom of page > “Proceed to Make a Submission” > Complete personal information > You may choose to present to the panel in Corner Brook, in Stephenville, or have a face-to-face meeting. (If you present, at the public consultation your submission must be in by June 1.
- It has been requested that more consultations be scheduled. The Wheeler Panel on HD Fracturing in Nova Scotia held 11 public consultation sessions. If you want to have more consultations sessions, contact Dr. Ray Gosine at: email@example.com and submit a request. Written submissions can also be mailed to the address provided.
- Your submission can be a personal letter, an academic paper, artwork, etc.