Be proactive in opposing fracking

Pictou-Advocate-opinion

To the Editor:

“Not in my backyard” is the common response to government and industry announcements of projects with undesirable side effects.

This has been true whether the project is a wind farm, a natural gas storage facility, or a cement plant burning tires. It is very difficult to arouse the general public before these projects are approved for their neighbourhood. Apathy reigns supreme until we are personally affected.

Once given, governmental approval is difficult to reverse. Fudging the facts to favour industry and to save face is standard procedure for politicians.

By far the most successful means of preventing undesirable consequences from industry projects is to stop them ahead of governmental approval. Proactive beats reactive nine times out of ten.

This brings me to the most dangerous issue of the day for Nova Scotia. There is a strong possibility that politicians are planning to allow fracking in our province.

In televised messages after the 2013 election, the Conservatives talked of the need to “grow the energy industry” in Nova Scotia. Had they been talking about adding wind or solar capacity, they would have been up front with it. “Grow the energy industry” is code for fracking.

How strong is the commitment to the temporary ban on fracking put in place by the Liberals in 2013? Circumstances then were not ideal for industry to bring fracking to Nova Scotia. Once the Alton natural gas storage facility is completed, fracking will soon follow.

If we continue as usual, we will remain mute until too late. Our best hope for preventing fracking is to be proactive in opposing it. Reacting after approval has been given will be too little and too late.

Given the narrow Liberal win in our recent election, and recognizing historic patterns, it is likely that the PC’s will win the next time. Barring a proactive opposition from the general public, we will then have fracking in many areas of Nova Scotia.

Unlike other projects that affect only localized populations, fracking represents a real threat to the health of all citizens in the province, including those on municipal water. The loss of property value and habitability of our homes is a very large secondary concern.

We have four years, or less, to beat this beast into submission. Do we care enough about the health of our children and grandchildren to stand up in opposition before fracking becomes a reality? “ NO FRACKING WAY” should be our motto in the face of the extreme threat lurking in our near future.

Orland Kennedy
Brookfield