Much has been said and written about the disposal of waste water from fracking in recent weeks. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate those residents of Colchester North, along the shore and beyond for their excellent presentations before the Committee of Council. It was obvious that the presenters were well informed, well educated on the topic and passionate with their message. Presentations were well written and well presented.
Presenters spoke to the importance of protecting both commercial and sport fishing, agriculture lands, recreation spaces and our own personal property. A great sense of pride filled the room at the Legion in Debert and I commend all residents for their tenacity and their leadership.
As a result of the hearings, County Council has reversed the decision made by their former Director of Public Works to allow treated waste water from fracking to be discharged through their treatment facility and into the Chiganois River. We must not forget the levels of government involved and decisions made that got us to this point and we must ensure that all of those levels of government work toward protecting our precious natural resources – our land and our water – for our generation and for future generations.
Government responsibilities include:
Transport Canada (Federal) and the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal (Provincial) regulate the transport of goods in and out of the province
Department of Environment (Provincial) establishes legislation and regulations for the issue of permits for fracking and the treatment of waste water from fracking
Municipality establishes bylaws that speak to the disposal of treated waste water through their systems.
Someone at Transport Canada and/or Department of Transportation gave permission for the waste water to be transported to Debert. Someone at the Department of Environment issued a permit for AIS to use a new technology as part of a pilot project to treat the waste water. Someone at the Municipality gave permission for it to be disposed of through their water treatment system. All of those decisions came together in the “perfect storm”.
It was the residents and presenters who stepped up to the plate and forced change. We must now continue to ask government to establish legislation and regulations around the process of hydraulic fracturing so that this “perfect storm” is never allowed to repeat itself.
It is my understanding that AIS was working within the current regulations and bylaws and had been issued the necessary permits to receive, treat and dispose of fracking waste water. They too have learned lessons from this most recent experience.
Our environment must be protected. It should be our collected commitment to work towards a common goal and to work with those who are responsible for the legislation and regulations designed to provide that protection. I am very proud of those people who stood for what is right.