SWN returning to New Brunswick as Mi’kmaq plan renewed resistance

, April 15, 2014
Another round of battles loom between the Mi’kmaq in New Brunswick and a Houston-headquartered energy firm exploring for shale gas deposits in the province.

SWN Resources Canada has submitted two proposals under the province’s environmental impact assessment process to drill exploratory wells in separate parts of New Brunswick. The projects were registered with the provincial environment department on Monday, according to an official.

The company plans to drill one well in Chipman, which is in central New Brunswick, and a second well near Richibucto, which is in an area that saw intense demonstrations against shale gas exploration last autumn.

The Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog is only about 17 kilometres west of Richibucto and its War Chief John Levi said SWN should again expect resistance.

“We are just getting ready to go back out there and stop them. It’s going to be rough,” said Levi. “It ain’t no game. This is our livelihood that is at stake. We are not going to allow it. It’s like they are trying to kill us slowly.”

SWN Resources Canada, which is owned by Houston-based Southwestern Energy Company, could not be reached for comment.

The Mi’kmaq, in an alliance with Acadians and residents of Anglophone communities in the region, led months-long protests against SWN Resources Canada. The Mi’kmaq feared the discovery of shale gas would lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The company ended its shale gas seismic exploration work this past December amid burning tires and highway clashes between demonstrators and the RCMP.

The RCMP also launched a heavily armed raid of an anti-fracking camp anchored by the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society last Oct. 17. The camp was blocking a compound holding SWN’s exploration vehicles. The raid triggered day-long clashes and the burning of six RCMP vehicles. Police arrested about 40 people that day.

The company has applied to have its exploration wells approved under the province’s phased EIA process which allows some components of proposed projects to unfold amid the environmental review. The environment department is currently putting together a technical committee to review SWN’s proposed wells, according to a provincial official with knowledge of the file.

SWN wants to build two well pads for vertical drilling that will range in depths between 1,000 and 4,000 metres. The company wants to determine the geology of the area by examining rock samples coming out of the holes, according to the provincial official who has read the company’s proposal.

The environmental assessment will also include input from the public.


Posted on April 15, 2014, in Oil & Gas and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. is burning tires good for the environment? What are tires made of? Seems to me that when you truly care about the environment, you do not burn tires: you either re-use or recycle them. Same applies to burning police cars and drilling rigs. One can debate over the real risks of shale gas production, no debates are necessary for the real risks of burning tires. If you still think its a good idea, then wear the adequate PPE….

    • This debate already occurred, about 4 months ago. I suggest you look at older posts from around Dec 2013. To recap: burning tires are commonly used at blockades and barricade situations because they are easy to find and set ablaze. The Mi’kmaq burned tires on the highways and guess what, it worked in delaying SWN seismic testing and RCMP responses. You know what else is bad for the environment? Driving a car. Do you drive a car E Adam? Do you ride in a bus or ever fly in a plane? So some things are bad for the environment, and some things are very very bad for the environment. Clearly the Mi’kmaq decided that a few burned tires was worth it to stop fracking. I do agree, however, that the toxic effects of burning tires should be considered before using them (such as in residential areas).

  2. Who trusts the gov’t. official who supposedly read the company’s proposal? What if they mean to drill to frack and see what comes up in the way of natural gas? The people should be able to read the company’s proposal.
    I don’t like burning rubber tires either. Can’t another method of blockading be found?

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