Halifax Media Co-op

News from Nova Scotia's Grassroots

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!

Causeway greetings for Sunday drivers

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Lake Ainslie. photo by Vance Rockwell
Lake Ainslie. photo by Vance Rockwell

Around this time of year, at a certain time of morning, if the weather is clear, as you drive south of South West Margaree, down the hill from Gillisdale and into Scottsville, Lake Ainslie smacks you in the face. Rather, the sun, leaping off the expanse of water, is what grabs you by the eyeballs and wrenches your attention from the yellow line streching in front of your car on the East Lake Ainslie road, before giving it back to you as you leave the lakeshore and wind your way into Whycocomagh. Yes: the sight of it is that beautiful.

A week ago, last Sunday, as Lake Ainslie sparkled, 50 kilometres down the road, 38 people lined the Trans Canada on the Cape Breton side of the Canso Causway holding signs reading "Stop The Fracking Madness" and "Water Is More Valuable Than Oil," and waving the Mohawk Warrior flag as motorists passed by, driving on or off Cape Breton Island.

It was the fourth Sunday they had gathered at the causeway to raise awareness of the dangers posed by the exploratory drilling rights recently approved by Nova Scotia's Departments of Energy and the Environment. PetroWorth Resources Inc, a junior exploration company based in Calgary, has the province's permission to drill an exploratory well on MacIsaac Point in West Lake Ainslie.

Five weeks ago, the first Sunday the group hit the causeway, if readers remember, a furious storm whipped through Nova Scotia. The group of demonstrators stood for hours in the driving rain and wind in a show of opposition to what they perceive to be the threat to water systems on western Cape Breton Island.

Opposition to oil and gas exploration--not just fracking--has been strong on the island since Petroworth expressed interest in drilling at Lake Ainslie. Inverness Oran reporter John Gillis's consistent and critical coverage over the past year and a half has revealed legal troubles PetroWorth, its partner companies and their executives face in PEI and BC. Local environmental groups have called up the environmental devastation caused by oil and gas exploration in other communities, notably Penobsquis and Elgin, NB. In February, Waycobah First Nation issued a resounding rejection of any kind of oil or gas exploration in the area, claiming that no amount of economic benefit could offset even a possibility that water in the area could be compromised. The Margaree Salmon Association recently declared its opposition to drilling at Lake Ainslie, which is one of the headwaters the Margare River, a heritage river and spawning ground for Atlantic salmon. The Margaree Environmental Association has filed a legal appeal of the drill permit. The Inverness County Council of Canadians and Lake Ainslie Development Association regularly host information sessions and town hall meetings on the issue of oil and gas development in the area which people attend in the hundreds. Inverness County was the first municipality in Nova Scotia to pass a resolution to ban fracking.

The group at the causeway last Sunday, which included young First Nations people and elder white folks, said they have been getting lots of support in the form of honking from passing vehicles.

Watch for the group today if you're crossing the causeway.

For information and testimonial about drilling the Lake Ainslie Block, visit Protect Lake Ainslie on Facebook.

Moira Peters lives in Halifax and grew up in Margaree.

Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.
555 words


People trying to stop jobs

Its quite sad that this small group (only 38 people out of all of Cape Breton) are trying to stop industry from coming that will create jobs and finally increase Cape Breton's economy. Isn't is about time that people stop moving to Alberta to work in the oil field when they can do it right here at home? Look at Alberta and other western provinces, oil & gas wells are in citys & towns, beside homes, parks & playgrounds, by lakes & rivers, with drilling, fracing and other well servicing going on safely everyday. Why does this small group of people think that a rural area such as Lake Ainsie will be ruined because of 1 well when hundreds of wells across the prairies have done nothing to ruin the land or water. They are concerned about a proposed oil well a mile away ruining a lake which can't be used for water because of already being contaminated by both the algea growing in it and the sewers from houses and cottages running into it. Why are they not starting by cleaning up the lake? Stop those neighboring land owners from running their waste into the lake! Its been ignored for years but now that there is the possibility of any industry that may create jobs, now they're supposedly so concerned about the lake. Approximately 140 000 people living in Cape Breton and as they admitted themselves only 38 protesters. I think that says it all on how the majority of Cape Bretoners feel about oil and gas coming here, creating jobs & a better economy here, and keeping our people from leaving across the Causeway to find work and support their families.

read a little more carefully

There are probably ways to make a living in Cape Breton outside the oil & gas industry, True Cape Bretoner. And as a large part of this post mentions, opposition to drilling in the area is widespread, by both locals and folks outside the area who understand the systemic (ecological and political) implications of such development. What Cape Breton needs is sustainable jobs, not a quick injection of money and the corresponding quick depletion of a valuable resource like oil or gas. Think a few generations into the future, as First Nations have been trying to teach us to do.

70-528 // 70-693 // 70-272 //

70-528 //
70-693 //
70-272 //

There are "Probably" ways to

There are "Probably" ways to make a living? Obviously those ways are few and far between or there wouldn't be a large amount of the population on welfare or moving west for jobs. Many of those who do have jobs can still barely make ends meet because they are low paying. Who told you opposition to drilling in the area is widespread? Certainly not the large amount of people who I've talked to!  The opposition is not as wide spread as those opposed would like people to believe and people know what the industry can do for Cape Bretoners so they want it here. There is actually a very small amount opposed to it but as with any type of protest, they want people to believe there are many more on their side than what there actually are. I'm glad you agree that Cape Bretoners need sustainable jobs and if there's as much resource in the Ainslie Block as they expect, oil and gas industry will create jobs for many years. What have First Nations taught? They don't need to worry about jobs because the tax dollars collected from white people go to support them. A treaty that originally was to give them flour, a few blankets and things a year has grown to new houses and  whatever else they want so they've learned they have to do nothing. And before you criticize, my spouse and children have status which they refuse to use because of the embarrasment it brings.

Just because your wife is

Just because your wife is native doesn't make you not a racist. In fact, its kind of gross that you would teach your own children to be ashamed of thier background, let alone lies about thier history. The idea that white people gave natives some flour and blankets- what about what happened to the Beothuck? What about systemic genocide and residential schools? Maybe you need to look into your heart and stop teaching your children to hate themselves.

Read more carefully indeed!!!!

Petroworth is not fracking shale gas at Lake Ainslie, they're drilling a conventional oil well. Inverness County's municipal government has no power or jurisdiction to ban fracking or drilling for oil or gas. The Margaree Environmental Association has not filed a legal appeal of the drill permit to the Supreme Court but just a belated Appeal to the Minister of Environment. The Mohawk are not the First Nations in Nova Scotia, the Mi'kmaq are and were consulted under the province's Environment Act. For over a year now this has been very, very strictly a ban fracking shale gas campaign driven by the national Council of Canadians and the province's leading environmental groups. The Nova Scotia government even launched a Review of Fracking Shale Gas and invited public comments, but there were no concerns or information about drilling conventional oil wells or the problems with Nova Scotia's environmental assessment and approval  and regulatory processes no matter what they're drilling or mining for. It's a very sad state of affairs when even Mining Association President Peter Oram spells out a big part of the problem happening in communities across  Nova Scotia: "We probably spend 80 per cent of the time in discussions during public consultation about mining issues that have nothing to do with the actual mine that we're trying to permit. It's related to tailings issues in South America. It's related to labour issues or Aboriginal peoples' issues in Columbia. We spend about 80 per cent of our total effort talking about all kinds of other mines all over the planet and about 20 per cent of the time in public consultation actually talking about the project that we're trying to do. One of the struggles through permitting is spending all that time on those other issues and unfortunately it detracts away from the project that you're really trying to talk about" - http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/committees/committee_hansard/C10/re_2010jun17 . The Protect Lake Ainslie and other such facebook and media sites about fracking shale gas are classic examples of the same problem: no facts about what is actually happening in the oil fields of Lake Ainslie and other communities across Nova Scotia thus preventing any honest or informed discussion about any of it.  In another example, contrary to popular propaganda that all the coal is imported, "We burn - 10 per cent or 20 per cent of our coal is from Nova Scotia" according to Christopher Huskilson, President & CEO Emera Inc, and lots more information not fit to mention by the province's leading environmental groups at http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/committees/committee_hansard/C10/re_2011oct20 .  So stop the fracking shale gas madness already and take a look at what's really happening in the oil and gas and mining industries in Cape Breton and other communities across Nova Scotia and get the facts right, otherwise you're part of the problem instead of the solution don't you think?

Oh wait, Chris Huskilson, who

Oh wait, Chris Huskilson, who took home $3 million plus last year off of our power bills, told us something. We should definitely trust whatever he says. He doesn't have a vested interest in fracking or anything.

Go see for yourself who's telling the truth and who's not!

Nova Scotia's leading environmental groups and media co-ops claim all the coal is imported but President of Emera Chris Huskilson says 10-20% of it is mined right here in Nova Scotia. Anybody who dares to take their blinders off and look at what's going on at Stellarton and Point Aconi, Nova Scotia for several years now knows who to believe and who not to!

"True Cape Bretoner "doesn't

"True Cape Bretoner "doesn't appear to live here.The 38 at the causeway  are not the only ones opposed ,nor are the demonstrators the same every week . The facebook page created over this issue Protect Lake Ainslie has over 1,700 members .I have attended  four large meetings  ( 100+) around the lake on this issue in the past year,and they were not the same people at every meeting .

In the immediate,we oppose the test well location itself .It is an unforgiving site ,with no room for error .It indicates a stunning lackof environmental sensitivity on the part  of Petroworth. The fact that there are at laest 4 abandoned oil wells on the property ,who's locations are unknown,is not re-assuring .   The test well will not create any local employment even in the short term, as Petroworth admitted  at their open house in West Lake Ainslie last fall.a small amount of  economic activity for motels and restaurants ,and a day or two for local heavy equipment operators in preparing the site. In exchange ,the community has all the noise,( 24/7 ) inconvenience  and risk for three weeks ,according to Petroworth President  at West Lake

The test well is opposed by the Margaree Gasperuaex Fishermens Association,the Margaree Salmon Association,Inverness County Council,Council of Canadians and the Margaree Environmental Association.

Yes we are aware that gas and oil exist next to rural settings in Alberta.We also know  that many communities have had their air, water,quality of life destroyed specifically by the gas industry,who's emissions are toxic not only to humans, wildlife, and livestock but the very ground itself .Lets not forget,that  as well agriculture,fishing and tourism, the Ainslie Bloc Lease is also home to North America's only pure malt whisky.any jobs in oil or gas, are likely to come at the expense of  jobs in the County  


And then there is climate change,and the recent report of the International Energy Agency pointing out that any further fossil fuel infrastructure ire development in the next 5years ,are likely to push the carbon budget beyond the red-zone ,into runaway greenhouse effect,where the heat death of the planet becomes inevitable



 Reality check,check

 Reality check,check reality.Petrowortbn holds a valid lease for oil and gas,and at public meetings in both West lake A inslie ,October 2010,and Waycobah,February 2011 ,Petroworth President Neal Mednick said that if the test well results indicted a that frac'ing was  appropriate ,then they would frac.Given the fact that gas and oil have been encountered in previous explorations in the area,it is misleading to claim  that the dangers of gas development are off the table,and absolutely no factual basis for your claim that a frac'ing ban exists in this province  

Regarding Frac'ng the failure of the popular press has given the misleading notion that opposition to frac'ing means opposition to the process of hydraulic fracturing where in fact ,the opposition is to every single aspect of shale gas development from ,seismic testing to pipeline ,drilling, pumping, waste water pits, noise,water and air  pollution  from wells, condenses,compressors,odorizers  and  ,trucks and noise ,and to pipeline right of ways .

I am sorry you don't find facebook page useful,it is a little unwieldy  try www.savelakeainslie.org.there you will find links to peer reviewed science showing that

1,Shale gas production and leaks  produce more greenhouse gases than burning coal 


2.thermogenic methane contaminates water wells near gas operations


3,even case stage drilling muds contain toxic chemicals that present a threat to human health


I don't know if this one is  on the site,but you should read it too.It isn't published science ,simply a warning from the International Energy Agency about how any new fossil fuel development will commit society to runaway greenhouse effect


and Here Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan explain runaway Greenhouse effect



If it's peer reviewed science you want

Thank you for proving the point Geoffrey that the area's environmental "experts" know all about fracking shale gas everywhere else on the planet but know nothing about what is actually happening in the oil and gas and energy industries in Nova Scotia and the real problems in communtiies across the province no matter what they're mining or drilling for or where.

If it's peer reviewed science  you want then check out the Proceedings of the IMWA 2010 symposium held right here at Cape Breton University last year and the numerous presentations and tours of sites across Nova Scotia by the world's leading experts. In particular, before Jessica Ernst comes to town, there's the presentation by Paul Younger at  http://www.imwa.info/docs/imwa_2010/IMWA2010_Younger_378.pdf , and the CBC's interview with him at
http://www.cbc.ca/informationmorningcb/2010/09/coal-gasification.html , and what the company involved says are the environmental risks and lack of regulations at :
http://laurusenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Laurus-final1.pdf , not to mention what's going on at the mouth of the Bras d'Or Lakes contrary to the popular propaganda of the provinces leading environmental groups that's preventing any honest or informed dialogue about any of it!

How does banning fracking shale gas address any of the concerns about drilling a conventional oil well at Lake Ainslie or Stewiacke or anywhere in Nova Scotia?


Nope I don't live in

Nope I don't live in Whycocomagh anymore. We moved west 3 years ago to have good jobs and give our kids a better life. Contrary to your statement Megan, we do teach our kids their heritage but they see themselves their relatives that do nothing so we are teaching them they have to work for what they want. Geoffery, your 1700 members on your group are NOT all in agreeance with you. I am one of those members along with my wife and other family members. None of us agree with what you people are trying to do but we are on there to read the things for a good laugh. Its quite entertaining really. We have guests over for dinner and discuss the posts laughing at how your group pretends that oil and gas is such an outrageous thing. Our children even read it and its quite sad when a 10 year old is laughing at you because they know theres a gas well that we can see from our kitchen window. So 1700 members yes but not 1700 supporters. I know some of the people who went to those meetings too and believe me not all of them agree with you so that was not 100 supporters rather just 100 people interested in the topic. Oh ya we left Whycocomagh, our familys and just about everything we owned to come to Estevan, Sask and I'm a fracer. Too bad just about all your supporters have never even seen a gas or oil well.

Fracking and Earthquakes

Yep, a new article in The Tyee shows the link between Fracking and Quakes, and that industry has known about it for years. Guess they just forgot to tell us or something...I'm sure they were meaning to though.



Who forgot to tell us something?

Instead of driving 50km west along the Trans Canada Highway to protest fracking shale gas at the Canso Causeway, drive 50km east to the mouth of the Bras d'Or Lakes and visit the local residents when a blast goes off that feels just like an earthquake and  knocks pictures off the walls and dishes off the shelves and does structural damage and destroys water wells. Listen to their story of what it's like to be blasted and strip mined and lied to and ignored right here in Nova Scotia. Meet dozens of Nova Scotians who are being driven out of their homes and off their ancestral lands for coal to generate over 20% of the electricity for your home, and explain to them why fracking shale gas is your #1 environmental concern instead!  Then follow the coal trucks 50km to NSPs power plant at Lingan, passing along the way the new Centre for Sustainability in Energy & the Environment at Cape Breton University in Sydney that hosted the IMWA 21010 symposium with over 300 of the world's leading experts at http://csee.cbu.ca/design/green-design . Maybe even stop and go in and learn something!


They frack everyday out west

They frack everyday out west here and we haven't seen any quakes. Again people exagerating things from other countries. Don't believe everything you read on the internet. Look at that Gasland movie. That thing is nothing but b.s. but some people are trying to make it out to be all true facts when its certainly not. Somebody wanted to make a film to make money so thats what he created and stupid people will believe it. Do they also believe in vampires and things coming back from the dead? lol

Guess you didn't read the article TCB

What are you talking about? People from other countries? No, this was a well-researched article that pretty much outlines a whole bunch of earthquakes that have happened out west.

Meanwhile, right here in Nova Scotia

While the campaign to ban fracking shale gas remains the #1 priority among the province's leading environmental groups and media co-ops, thousands and thousands of hectares of land across Nova Scotia are being bought by oil and gas and mining companies and handed the rights to mine without any proper environmental assesment or community consultation or regulations whatsoever, e.g.:   
Gold mine to create needed jobs, Work expected to start on Moose River operation in 2012, November 24, 2011, Halifax Chronicle Herald
Mining isn't a threat to the water supply is it, and the world's leading experts don't know what they're talking about, especially when it comes to Nova Scotia?! e.g:

Instead of filing belated appeals to the Minister against fracking shale gas or drilling oil wells, wouldn't Nova Scotia's leading environmental groups and their lawyers' time and resources be better spent writing a very carefully worded bylaw for the municipal and county governments to protect their water resources from potential threats that the provincial government cannot reject, no matter what they're mining or drilling or blasting for? Obviously banning fracking shale gas isn't going to do it, and instead turns a blind eye to what is actually happening in rural communities across Nova Scotia as we speak.


Breaking the silence in Nova Scotia

While the author is busy "Breaking the Silence" about mining in Guatemala with "an evening of live music, solidarity and awareness building" in Halifax tonight, the word COAL has been omitted from her description of Jessica Ernst's speaking tour of Nova Scotia next weekend listed in Events. Why?




The site for the Halifax local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.