Anti-fracking momentum crosses borders with new regional bans

Intro

Quebec and New Brunswick premiers are among the latest wave of North American leaders put forward bans on fracking. Today, New Brunswick’s provincial government announced it would impose a moratorium until outlined conditions are fully met, which, according to Premier Brian Gallant, include “a process to consult with First Nations, a plan for wastewater disposal and credible information about the impacts fracking has on health, water and the environment.” Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard also ruled out shale gas development in the province this week following an environmental review revealing that the risks associated with fracking outweighed any economic benefits. Meanwhile, in the US, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide ban on fracking on Wednesday, citing concerns over air and water contamination. These decisions come amid continued calls from activists to halt the controversial practice, which involves injecting water, sand, and chemicals underground to unlock oil and natural gas reserves. Fracking has been linked to health problems and contributes to climate change by releasing the potent greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. In Canada, Quebec and New Brunswick join Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador in banning fracking, while New York is the second state in the US, after Vermont, to prohibit the practice.

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Key Points

  • Communities all around the globe are fighting fracking to preserve their air, water, and health. Everyday people from Pennsylvania to Poland are fighting to protect their water and air by pushing back against frack-happy oil and gas companies. Fort Nelson First Nation is among many around the world building a wall of opposition against fracking in their communities. Even Denton, Texas—the birthplace of fracking—has voted to outlaw the controversial practice within city limits.
  • These latest regional decisions on fracking could set a precedent for more bans to follow. The public health and safety concerns that led New Brunswick, Quebec and New York to ban fracking are present everywhere. These latest decisions could prompt other provinces, states and municipalities to put health and concern for the climate above the narrow interests of the oil and gas industry.
  • New research highlighting the health, environmental and earthquake risks of fracking is clearer than ever. According to Quebec’s environmental assessment agency, there is “scant evidence” to support any claims that fracking benefits outweigh risks. A new analysis of scientific studies released by NRDC found that people living and working near fracking sites suffer disproportionate rates of respiratory problems, birth defects, blood disorders, cancer, and nervous system impacts. Meanwhile other research has shown 2,500 earthquakes in Oklahoma could be linked to local fracking operations.

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Key Quotes

  • “We have been clear from Day 1 that we will impose a moratorium until risks to the environment, health and water are understood.” – Brian Gallant, New Brunswick Premier
  • “The activities of the industry could engender consequences for the quality of the environment, particularly on the quality of surface and underground water.” – Bureau des audiences publique sur l’environnement (BAPE), Quebec’s environmental assessment agency
  • “I don’t think there is a big interest in developing this resource on the economic or financial levels. Anyway, the social acceptability isn’t there… If there’s no segment of the population that approves of the practice then I don’t see the interest in developing it.” – Philippe Couillard, Quebec Premier
  • “I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York.” – Howard Zucker, New York’s acting commissioner of health
  • “The Governor based his decision on the science—not the demands of oil and gas drillers looking for a quick buck. The public health risks posed by contamination of our air, land and water are too great to allow high-volume, horizontal fracking in our beautiful state.” – Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.)

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  • RT @CCIHC Quebec also rejects fracking: Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard made the comments shortly after Quebec’s… http://fb.me/3CkhrxxTt
  • MT @MarkRuffalo: Moratorium! Bravo NYS! Bravo DOH! Bravo @NYGovCuomo! Bravo NYS Antifracking movement. You worked hard and relied on science