Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Liberals unaware of government review on waste water ban

FREDERICTON - Opposition Liberals said recently they were unaware the Conservative government is reviewing the provincial ban on the pumping of waste water into the ground as it studies the viability of the shale gas industry in New Brunswick. 

"That's the first I heard of it," said Liberal Opposition Leader Victor Boudreau when asked about the issue on the grounds of the Legislature last week.

Liberal Environment critic Denis Landry was also unaware the ban was under review by government and commented on the subject in the video below:

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.

Last week, Environment Minister Bruce Fitch told this publication the government is consulting stakeholders for a white paper on whether the ban on waste water ought to be lifted, since the extraction of shale gas requires fluids to be pumped deep into the ground. Fitch said the paper is expected soon. (See video below)

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.