New Brunswick — As unemployment continues to climb in New Brunswick, business groups who have sunk significant capital into hydraulic fracturing (known as “fracking”) are becoming frustrated with the province’s moratorium on the controversial procedure, in which a fluid, typically water, is forced under high pressure into cracks in a rock substrate, releasing natural gas trapped in the rock.
“We can’t stand by and watch New Brunswickers be deprived of much-needed jobs by this government,” said CEO of Azure Spheres Construction, Adam Adamson, of the moratorium, which has been in place since December of 2014. “Our firm has had heavy machinery ready to go since 2014 and it’s painful to see it just sitting there unused.”
Fracking has been fraught from the beginning with concerns about its potential to pollute groundwater and other important sources of drinking water, something Adamson and his coalition of 14 other companies dismisses as fear-mongering.
“People talk about drinking water like it’s hard to get,” he said. “Last I checked, water literally falls out of the sky. Oil and gas don’t. Jobs don’t.”
More recently, researchers have begun suggesting that there may also be a link between fracking and earthquake activity. Studies suggest that small quakes increase in strength and frequency in areas where fracking is conducted, when compared to historical norms. Gerald Grant, director of the pro-fracking advocacy group Inject, believes, like Adamson, that New Brunswickers need to take risks if they want to save their economy.
“Our province was built on risk-takers. The men who drove logs down the St. John River knew it wasn’t safe, but they did it and we’re better for it,” said Grant. “Besides, a little earthquake never hurt anybody! When I was young we used to have 2 and 3 quakes a day in Miramichi. Kept you regular.”