Join the Crowd: Vote for a Moratorium

Newfoundland has put a moratorium on shale gas exploration into effect, primarily over fears about effects on tourism around Gros Morne Park.

hopewellrocksAs we have pointed out, much of the expected shale gas extraction in NB is around our biggest tourist attractions….including our own UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve and the Hopewell Rocks.

A resolution from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities is supporting a province-wide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and calling for a dialogue about the practice of hydrofracking between First Nations, federal, provincial and municipal governments on potential impacts.
In the PEI Legislature, on November 26th 2013, the Standing Committee on
Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry recommended a Moratorium on
High Volume Hydraulic Fracking on PEI.
With existing moratoria in Quebec and New York, New Brunswick is now the
only jurisdiction in our region pushing ahead with shale gas development.
Voters in the Colorado cities of Boulder, Fort Collins and Lafayette approved
anti-fracking initiatives by wide margins in early November, despite an industry
campaign against the measures that cost at least $875,000.
Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union (300,000 with 40,000 in the energy
sector), called for a Canada-wide moratorium on all new oil and gas fracking.
Unifor raised concerns about safety and environmental risks as well as the lack of
informed consent by First Nations about fracking activities on traditional lands.
Click here for our list of the New Brunswick municipalities and Provincial groups of all kinds that have called for a moratorium.

A “small special interest minority”?  We think not.

Let’s talk about traffic…

We understand that Contact Exploration will be resuming operations this year in Stoney Creek and Edgett’s Landing. As far as we know, they will be drilling and fracking for oil on existing well pads. This may mean fewer construction vehicles and water tankers than for new gas operations, but we know that gas exploration and development is coming soon.  We wonder how Route 114 will hold up.

So, what can we expect?  Here are three eye-opening videos:

Now…enough of those polished, high-priced sales videos…tell us what it’s really like…

Or one real life drive along a Pennsylvania highway one week after a fracking operation began.

We need a change of heart

“It is a change of heart that’s needed, a change of direction,
an understanding in the bone that we must stop the desecration of our lands.”
Marilyn Lerch

Wednesday’s Telegraph Journal contained one journalist’s cynical and patronizing view of Unity Encampment in Rexton…the viewpoint of a stranger who walks through once and assumes he understands the whole story.  The following letter to the editor was written by a frequent visitor to the camp…one who has lingered and listened to hear the Heartbeat of a new community finding its way and growing stronger.

These words from Marilyn Lerch of Sackville:

Something beautiful, inspiring and historic has been happening in our province,this summer and fall of 2013. It has been coming to fruition for three years or more in people’s living rooms, in community halls in Berwick, Taymouth, St. Ignace, Bass River, Cornhill, Hillsborough and in the hearts and minds of countless thousands of our people. It manifested on country roads like 116 and 126 in Kent County in June and is continuing to grow at the Unity Encampment near Rexton today.

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I am talking, of course, about the grassroots movement to ban shale gas mining. And, though that remains the central thrust of this movement, it has become so much more. If you come with me into the talking circle near Rexton with the night sky brilliant with stars you will see what I mean.

You will find common folks speaking from the heart. No jargon, no doublespeak, just stories like this one from a young mother: My son is four years old and I saw him sitting by a tree the other day. He was talking to it. Then he stopped and listened. And then he spoke again. I want him to grow up in a world that honours trees like that.

A young First Nations man spoke about how he must change himself, become clean in mind, spirit and heart to carry on this struggle. There are few academics in the circle, but more and more students are coming. And they must return to the academies and teach what so many of their elders know but have not the courage to act on. There are no millionaires in the circle to my knowledge. And certainly few if any politicians have dared to come.

There are women who feel safer here than at home, men in beards and camouflage who know the land, young and old, people from all over the province and beyond, mixing, moving around in small circles sharing what they know.

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We are Francophones, Anglos, First Nations people talking together, laughing and planning together. I sit there for hours as the Talking Stick moves around the circle, as consensus is patiently found, woodsmoke in my hair and clothes, and I long for more writers, poets, thinkers, teachers, doctors, town councilors, to be there.

For if not now, when?

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No injunction or show of force by the RCMP or cosmetic talks with the government can stop what is building in our province. This is not a threat. It is simply that finally, finally New Brunswickers are seeing what it has cost us to be manipulated by a few powerful entities that have left our democratic process in shameful shreds.

Our Mi’kmaq brothers and sisters at Elsipogtog are standing strong as protectors of the land. They do not want a job or revenue that comes at the price of poisoning land, water and air for their children. Who would want that? They are raising with powerful voices once again what their treaty rights have given them and what has been denied them for centuries. They are claiming anew what they have not ceded to anyone. And their rising up must be the rising up of all of us non-indigenous people.

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It is not a change of government that is the answer. New Brunswickers are sick of revolving door politics. It is a change of heart that’s needed, a change of direction, an understanding in the bone that we must stop the desecration of our lands. Now. The digging, scraping, fracking, at any cost with profits for a few must be denounced, decried, and sane alternatives offered. Now.

We must all cry out for a ban on shale gas mining, but more than that, we must all become protectors of the ground on which we stand.

A powerful, inspiring beginning has been made.
Where do you stand? Ask yourself, then act.
This opportunity, if missed, may not come again for a very long time.

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Fracking fun…

WEPAC wishes to congratulate the organizers and volunteers of the Albert County Exhibition, being held Sept 12-15, 2013 for reaching this monumental 100th Anniversary Celebration.  We are proud that our small rural community has been able to continue with this exhibition for an entire century. It speaks to the tremendous commitment of the volunteers who make it possible and to the loyalty of the people who attend and take part.

To help celebrate all that we hold dear in our county and our province, we have sent WEPAC volunteers, Agent Jack No Frack and his partner, Mother Earth down to the Ex as our representatives.

BREAKING NEWS:  Agent Jack and Mother Earth Win
1st and 2nd prizes at the Exhibition!

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Call on Jack No Frack to protect what you love. He may look friendly and harmless now, but do damage to his special lady, Mother Earth, and you won’t know Jack! —

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Agent Jack for Hire…

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Have a word with Mother Earth. Spend some time at her feet and listen to her wisdom. Consider the many ways she nurtures you.

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Words of Wisdom from the Earth.

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WEPAC kids in the parade on Saturday. Our float won 3rd Prize! We aim to cultivate a new generation of community members…ones holding values of pride, participation and protection. But – hey – it’s also nice to get a wee bit o’recognition for the hard work, too!

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(This following photo from the Hillsborough Parade)

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See you at the Ex!