Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County (WEPAC) is a group of concerned citizens who became aware of development plans for the oil and gas industry in Albert County. We are your neighbours, friends, relatives.
Our core group consists of some retired folks: a pastor, an engineer, a former mayor, an air traffic controller, and a communications consultant; plus we have a museum curator, a writer, a few teachers, business owners, moms, grandmothers. Not what you would call easily excitable, fear-mongering radicals. Nor what you might call people who reside in the dark ages, afraid of progress.
We began educating ourselves on what this industry would mean for our communities.
We waded through mountains of information, trying to sift the good from the bad, the reliable from the fabricated, while deciphering technical jargon and legalese.
As our research continued, we realized that our land, air, health and lifestyle are being threatened. And that our very climate was in danger.
We took a tour of the Penobsquis area, smelled the emissions from existing gas wells and heard how 60 families had to fight for compensation after losing their water and how their property values diminished. We asked questions about the economic impact and jobs for the communities and realized that this industry benefited very few local people.
And we discovered that our own Village of Hillsborough water supply was within lands licensed for development. With our mixed up geology and past history of mining, we felt this was a scenario of deep concern.
In 2006, the village drilled 29 wells looking for a reliable, clean water supply. They drilled an additional 6 wells seeking a backup source. Today, village employees devote many hours to ensuring these wells remain viable.
WEPAC has received endorsement from the Hillsborough Municipal Council to explore this issue on the village’s behalf. Since then, the village called for a moratorium to halt all work within 4km of village limits. We have met with our MLA, the Minister of the Environment, and the CEO of the gas company that has leased our land. We’ve attended two public consultation sessions, information sessions, circulated petitions, sent letters, organized our own presentations, spoken to groups, attended protests and rallies, and joined a province-wide organization of concerned groups.
We will continue ‘Protecting What’s Important’.
We can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org