Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Government to decide on waste water ban in relation to shale gas fracking

Above, Environment Minister Bruce Fitch and a communications official from the Premier's office walk to the Legislature yesterday

A recent article in the Herald Business online mentions in an interview with SWN manager Tom Alexander that, although pumping waste water into the ground in New Brunswick is banned, it's under review as the government examines the viability of shale gas fracking in the province.

Last year the shale gas program started with seismic exploration. Shale gas drilling, or fracking as it's called in the industry, will begin in earnest if seismic data proves deposits are worth the investment. When that happens, the fracking process to remove shale gas from deep underground will require chemicals mixed with water and mud, forming a sort of slurry, be pumped into the earth. It will flood the deposits to loosen them, sending them to the surface for collection. 

At issue for citizens concerned about shale gas is they see the fracking slurry as waste water because it's no longer useable and contains chemicals. Since pumping waste water into the ground is banned in New Brunswick, it follows for them that shale gas fracking cannnot take place in the province. Thus calling a halt to the industry here.
Catching up with Environment Minister Bruce Fitch, he was asked what the province is considering, since there is no provision in provincial statutes regarding the pumping of fracking slurry into the ground. The Minister responded to the question, saying government is studying the matter in hopes of making a decision soon.