Rexton — SWN Resources Canada announced today that it is introducing flavours to chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process in hopes of winning support for shale gas development in New Brunswick. Today’s announcement follows on the heels of last month’s provincial election. The newly formed Liberal government led by Premier Brian Gallant promised a moratorium on any further shale gas development in the province. Unfortunately for SWN Resources Canada, that promise became a central feature of the Liberal Party’s platform when former Conservative premier David Alward positioned the election as a referendum on shale gas development. The election result left SWN scrambling to find a way to appeal to New Brunswickers’ sensibilities.
In a statement given this morning at the Rexton Community Hall, SWN Resources Canada spokesperson Robin Moore unveiled the company’s new plan for courting New Brunswickers for shale gas development. Moore explained SWN has revolutionized the hydraulic fracturing process by ostensibly eliminating the production of wastewater. Instead, the byproduct of the process will now be a flavoured wastewater, which SWN has re-branded as “tastewater.”
Next month, residents of Queens and Kent counties – where SWN will begin drilling 4 previously approved test wells in 2015 – will be asked to vote for their preferred flavour of “tastewater” in case the test wells prove worthy of fracking. Moore said that even though the likelihood of fracking chemicals contaminating the groundwater is probably on the lower end of the spectrum, SWN nonetheless wanted to reassure residents of Queens and Kent counties that they are thinking of their long-term quality of life and not simply about profits. Currently, the company has developed grape, cherry, orange and raspberry-flavoured chemicals, and is rumoured to be developing mango and cranberry flavours in time for next month’s vote. SWN has made the full statement available on their website (swnnb.ca).