HALIFAX – A new study on the potential for hydraulic fracturing in Nova Scotia says there isn’t enough research available to draw firm conclusions about the impact on communities.
The study says the use of high-volume fracking to extract oil and natural gas from shale deposits emerged as a profitable business only a decade ago, which means peer-reviewed studies are hard to come by.
The discussion paper, written by social ecologist Shawn Dalton, will form the basis of a chapter in a report to be produced later this year by an independent, expert panel appointed by the province in February.
Dalton says Nova Scotia is under pressure to develop its unconventional oil and gas resources because it is facing a dwindling population and fiscal challenges.
However, the report also says energy companies hoping to drill in unproved areas with little or no industry services — like Nova Scotia — are facing extreme risk due to high costs and opposition from protest groups like those found in New Brunswick.
Marilyn Cameron, an environmental activist and farmer in rural Nova Scotia, says the study supports the view that Nova Scotia’s moratorium on fracking should remain in place.
Cameron says Dalton’s study says virtually nothing about agriculture even though all of the areas in the province that have shown promise for shale deposits are in rural areas.