Under pressure

Poll reveals Nova Scotia isn’t friendly to fracking

The oil and gas industry has an uphill battle in winning public acceptance for hydraulic fracturing in Nova Scotia, according to a recent poll.

In the October poll that asked 1,300 Nova Scotians if they support keeping a ban of the practice in place unless an independent review finds there is no risk to drinking water, human health, the climate and communities, 69 per cent either strongly supported or supported it. It’s worth noting that the poll, conducted by Toronto-based Abacus Data, was sponsored by the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition (NOFRACK), an organization that supports banning the development of shale gas and hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is an extraction process where water mixed with sand and chemicals is injected at a high pressure into wells to crack the tight rock and allow oil and natural gas to flow to the surface. And it’s been so effective that it’s opened up huge amounts of natural gas and oil in basins across the U.S. and Western Canada that were once thought too difficult to extract. But the process is controversial: it’s been blamed for contaminating water and even causing earthquakes.

Industry’s efforts to use it in Atlantic Canada have also encountered opposition; despite assurances from oil and gas companies that fracking has been used safely for decades. Particularly worrisome for any company with designs on fracking in Nova Scotia is that the moratorium is solidly supported by all age groups cited in the poll. That suggests serious uneasiness about fracking, something that could spell trouble for any company proposing to frack in the province even if the current moratorium is lifted.

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