This site is a vehicle to share information about the effects of unconventional oil exploration and extraction, including hydraulic fracturing, and the consequences it could have on our region, communities, health, and economies.
Slick-water hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a controversial method used to extract tight oil from shale formations. This modern form of well stimulation can be done vertically or horizontally. More often, fracking is conducted horizontally using multi-well pads and cluster drilling. Fracking has generated public concerns across North America and internationally regarding impacts to human and environmental health. Newfoundland and Labrador currently has no policies, regulations or guidelines in place for hydraulic fracturing. Other jurisdictions in Canada, North America, and internationally have launched public assessments and reviews to study the impacts of fracking.
Along the west coast of Newfoundland, there have been recent proposals to conduct onshore and onshore to offshore fracking. The region is located on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which has sensitive coastal environments, complex circulating currents, rich fisheries, and is bordered by 5 provinces.
Our groups advocate for the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to put into place a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing and other associated methods of unconventional oil exploration and extraction in the province. We call on the government to establish a comprehensive, independent, science-based, and public review that looks at potential impacts across sectors, including assessments of the environmental, social, health, economic, and policy issues and risks. This review must be grounded in transparent public consultation.
Toronto-based companies Black Spruce Exploration, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Foothills Capital Corp., and Shoal Point Energy are applying to do exploratory drilling and fracking at a number of locations on the west coast of Newfoundland, including: Sally’s Cove (an enclave in Gros Morne National Park and UNSECO World Heritage Site), Lark Harbour (Bay of Islands) and Shoal Point (Port au Port). A number of other locations of interest are Parsons Pond, St. Paul’s, Trout River, Chimney Cove and Little Port.
This is an important issue for our region and for the future of coastal communities here and around the Gulf of St. Lawrence whose livelihoods and resource-based economies have always come from renewable resources, namely fisheries and tourism. As Gros Morne National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s signature tourism destinations, this is an important economic and policy issue for the whole province.