Letters to the Editor

Friday, 19 August 2011

SWN leaves Taymouth due to protest and damaged equipment

- courtesy Taymouth Community Association Facebook site August 18

About 60 residents of Taymouth and surrounding communities held a peaceful shale gas protest rally on English Settlement Road this morning. They met at the Taymouth Community Centre and drove out to the first seismic testing point on English Settlement Road, where 4 vibe/thumper trucks had just arrived to begin testing. The seismic trucks were accompanied by other vehicles, including those of security personnel. Several RCMP vehicles were present to keep the peace.

Residents asked about the government inspector and were told he had accompanied the seismic trucks the 2 previous days but had not appeared today.

Residents displayed their protest signs, talked with each other and with the RCMP and seismic crew. There was an unsuccessful attempt to present the Taymouth petition, to stop shale gas exploration in the Nashwaak Valley, to Operations Manager Mike Rhodes, but he was continuously on the phone.

CBC, Radio Canada and Global News interviewed residents about their concerns about the major risk to the environment and peoples’ wellbeing associated with shale gas development.

Finally Mike Rhodes approached the press to make a statement. He said the seismic work would not occur today as some geophones had been pulled up and some geophone wiring had been damaged. The seismic trucks would drive back to their starting point on the Highway 8 Bypass at its junction with Zionville Road.
As the trucks drove off residents chanted, "Don't come back!". They then followed the trucks in a long procession of cars, out of the community and back to the Highway 8 Bypass.

Shortly thereafter company personnel removed geophone equipment from Zionville  Road.
It is thought that seismic testing will occur tomorrow on English Settlement Road. Residents from Stanley and surrounding communities, including Taymouth, plan to demonstrate again Friday, beginning at 2 p.m. The location will be wherever the seismic trucks are located at that time.
Note: It turns out that the government inspector was on his way to the test site today when he got a call from SWN reporting the damage to the geophones and the likelihood that  siesmic tsting would not proceed. The inspector turned around and went back to Fredericton.

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