Protecting her riding

Staff ~ The Western Star
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MHA supports independent, external review of hydraulic fracturing

Wayne Hounsell is pleased to see yet more support from another politician on calls for an independent, external review of hydraulic fracturing.

Judy Foote, MP for Random-Burin-St. George’s, said in a letter to Hounsell that she agrees the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s decision to freeze further fracking applications is a positive step.

It was in early November 2013 that Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley declared a moratorium on fracking in the province. He announced government will not approve fracking onshore or onshore-to-offshore pending further review. Dalley said government would hold public consultations before it develops any policy for fracking.

“I think an independent, external review would be better suited to provide the information necessary to make informed decisions about the use of fracking because of the ongoing controversy over the practice,” Foote said in the letter.

She said she cannot support the use of the process if there exists the possibility it can cause significant harm to the health of those who live in the area where it would occur, and to the environment.

Foote said exploration of shale gas reservoirs through hydraulic fracturing requires a significant amount of water with chemical additives and sand that could lead to contamination of water sources and habitat fragmentations.

She also read of other environmental concerns resulting from air emissions, the disposal of wastewater and infrastructure requirements.

Hounsell, the chairman of the Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group, appreciated the MP’s support of the group’s position.

“We know she has a concern for the environment in western Newfoundland,” he said.

Hounsell said Foote joins a rather large group that has come out in support of their position, including Liberal Leader Dwight Ball, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael and Lana Payne, Atlantic director of  Unifor, the largest energy union in Canada.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour has also approved of a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing at its convention back on Dec. 3, 2013.

Hounsell said he also heard from Charlene Fitzgerald, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador College of Family Physicians, who has pledged support.

“Our group is building a large base of support for western Newfoundland in favour of having an independent, external review carried out on hydraulic fracturing,” he said.


The Western Star

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador College, Canada.The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, Family Physicians

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Port au Port, Western Star

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