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About a dozen people from an Idle No More group based on the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve are marching today against shale gas exploration.
They blocked the Seaway International Bridge, also known as the Three Nations Bridge, connecting Cornwall, Ont. and Massena, NY for about an hour early on Saturday afternoon.
The group gathered to raise public awareness about the dangers of fracking, the process used to extract gas from the earth by injecting fluid into shale rocks to release the natural gas inside.
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne posted a note to its Facebook page on Nov. 6 saying its members had met with the group of protesters prior to the march and they confirmed bridge traffic wouldn’t be disrupted.
The council said in the note that the group vowed instead to undertake an educational campaign and pass out leaflets during the demonstration. However, the protest veered onto the bridge, forcing local police to close it.
According to Cornwall police, the bridge has since re-opened and traffic is flowing freely.
No arrests have been reported so far. Akwesasne police were unavailable to comment.
Akwesasne straddles the border between Quebec, Ontario and New York.
Oil and gas executives at an industry conference in Montreal sipped on a rather unique beverage this week, the National Post reports — fracking fluid.
During a lunch presentation at the Quebec Oil And Gas Association’s annual conference, Halliburton Canada vice-president John Gorman handed out glasses of the company’s “CleanStim” fracking fluid, and some 20 to 25 execs — Gorman included — took a sip, the Post reported.
Talk about a potent potable.
Gorman said Halliburton “only had to replace very few chemicals with some food additives” to create a fracking fluid safe enough to drink. But the company maintains its fracking fluid is “not intended for human consumption.”
It was a publicity stunt, of course, one that Halliburton — which used to be headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney — has repeated multiple times in recent years.
It’s meant to show that environmentalists’ concerns about toxic fluids in fracking operations are overblown.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told a U.S. congressional committee earlier this year that he drank Halliburton fracking fluid.
And it was likely not a coincidence that the latest round of fracking fluid drinking took place in Quebec, which has instituted a moratorium on fracking.
That moratorium has frustrated some energy companies hoping to jump-start the fracking industry in the province, and led to a lawsuit against the federal government.
Lone Pine Resources says it plans to sue Ottawa for $250 million under NAFTA provisions. The company claims Quebec’s moratorium on fracking beneath the St. Lawrence River, instituted in 2011, takes away the company’s “valuable right” to frack.
Violent clashes broke out earlier this month at Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick when police tried to enforce an injunction against an ongoing protest against shale gas exploration. Shale gas is typically extracted through fracking, which is a process by which water and chemicals are forced into rock formations in order to extract oil or gas.
Besides concerns that toxic chemicals could leak into the groundwater from fracking operations, some studies have suggested fracking exploration is causing earthquakes.
A new study from the British government, released this week, says fracking isn’t a public health risk, so long as it’s well regulated and well run, the Guardian reported.
- Halliburton exec’s new drink of choice: Fracking fluid (mining.com)
- Top Haliburton executive sips fracking fluid with colleagues in industry show stunt (business.financialpost.com)
- What Fracking Means for Bottled Drinking Water (knowyourbottledwaterblog.com)
- Fracking (xufenghuang.wordpress.com)
- Peak Oil Denial: Skimming Over Facts (peakoil.com)
- Fracking hysteria prompts industry code of conduct to quell fears (business.financialpost.com)
- ‘Low health risk’ from fracking (bbc.co.uk)
- Study: Fracking Sucks Up Freshwater At Alarming Rate (mintpressnews.com)
What was to be the final day of hearings in Toronto on the controversial Line 9 pipeline was cancelled Saturday, as hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets to oppose energy company Enbridge’s plan to reverse the oil pipe and increase its capacity to carry crude.
“They try to make it seem like we’re not going to have a spill. And it’s very likely that a spill will happen somewhere along this line,” said protester Nigel Barriffe, who lives near Line 9 in northwest Toronto.
Enbridge was to make its closing submissions to the National Energy Board on its plan to reverse the line, so it would flow from Southern Ontario to Montreal, and increase its capacity to move crude oil.
But the National Energy Boardannounced late Friday that Saturday’s hearings were off, saying the way the previous day’s hearings ended raised concerns about the security of participants. Protesters were out in force for Friday’s panel hearing, but there was no violence during that demonstration or Saturday’s rally.
- Line 9 pipeline hearing postponed after protests
- Pipeline plan threatens First Nations communities, NEB hears
On Friday, protesters, many gathered under the banner of the Idle No More movement, first milled outside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to rally against the Line 9 pipeline and to show solidarity with demonstrations at New Brunswick’s Elsipogtog First Nation against a shale-gas project. They were eventually allowed in slowly, after the NEB determined that there were enough seats.
After an anti-Line 9 deputant completed her official submissions to the NEB panelists, the demonstrators began chanting and moving up to the front of the room toward the panel.
There was a brief scuffle with security. Then the NEB panel members were escorted by security and police out of the room, as was an Enbridge representative.
The NEB didn’t provide a date for when Enbridge will present the closing arguments that had been slated for Saturday.
Protest organizer Amanda Lickers said the NEB should have found a way to let Enbridge make its case in support of the reversal.
“I think that if they were really concerned about security, they could have still done it over the web…. There could have been ways to make the presentation happen.”
Critics cite environmental risks
The panel heard this week from interveners stating the reversal would put First Nations communities at risk, threaten water supplies and could endanger vulnerable species in ecologically sensitive areas.
Jan Morrissey of a Toronto residents’ group showed up early Saturday morning for the hearing, only to learn it was cancelled.
Morrissey said she’s disappointed she won’t get to hear Enbridge’s final reply to arguments made to the board by critics of the reversal.
“It’s sort of like reading a book and not getting to see the last chapter,” she said.
The pipeline reversal would increase the line’s capacity to 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day, up from the current 240,000 barrels.
Enbridge has also asked for permission to move different types of oil, including a heavier form of crude from the Alberta oilsands.
Opponents say the crude Enbridge wants to transport is more corrosive and will stress the aging infrastructure and increase the chance of a leak.
But Enbridge has said what will flow through the line will not be a raw oilsands product — although there will be a mix of light crude and processed bitumen.
Line 9 originally shuttled oil from Sarnia, Ont., to Montreal but was reversed in the late 1990s in response to market conditions to pump imported crude westward.
Enbridge is now proposing to flow oil back eastward to service refineries in Ontario and Quebec.
The company has experienced several devastating spills on its pipelines, including one in Michigan that leaked 3.3 million litres of oil into the Kalamazoo River and has already cost the company more than $1 billion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes there is at least 684,000 litres of bitumen still in the river.
- Final day of Enbridge Line 9 pipeline hearings cancelled over security concerns (globalnews.ca)
- Line 9 hearings by National Energy Board overtaken by protest (cbc.ca)
- Enbridge pipeline: Toronto criticizes emergency plans (metronews.ca)
- Thousands march against GMOs, Monsanto across Canada (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- CBC: N.B. shale gas solidarity protests spread to other regions (sacredfirenb.wordpress.com)
- Anti-fracking protesters torch cop cars in New Brunswick (washingtontimes.com)
- Revenue Canada issues run deeper than Nicolo Rizzuto cheque: ex-staff (cbc.ca)
- Government confirms late mob boss received $381,737 (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
- CRA confirms Mafia boss received ‘unwarranted’ tax refund cheque for $381,737 (theprovince.com)
- Tax agency needs to explain cheque to mob boss: Editorial (thestar.com)
- Montreal mobster received $381,737 tax refund he shouldn’t have: Radio-Canada (macleans.ca)
- Charbonneau set to return with focus on Quebec unions (macleans.ca)
- Quebec corruption inquiry to focus on unions (cp24.com)
- Politicians demand more information from rail companies after Lac-Megantic disaster (globalnews.ca)
- J.D. Irving eyeing railway involved in Lac-Mégantic crash (cbc.ca)
- Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway files for bankruptcy after Lac-Mégantic tragedy (business.financialpost.com)
- Irving subsidiary might buy insolvent Montreal, Maine and Atlantic railway operations (business.financialpost.com)
- Clean-up, controversy follow Lac-Megantic disaster (northcountrypublicradio.org)
- Quebec woman, 21, killed as storm knocks down tree branch (cbc.ca)
- Historic tree brought down by powerful storm (cbc.ca)
- At least one killed as thunderstorms sock Ontario and Quebec (upi.com)
- Thousands still without power after storms hit Quebec, Ontario (globalnews.ca)
- Quebec, Ontario crews working to restore power after deadly storm (metronews.ca)
- Dozens missing after oil train explosion levels Canadian town center (realnewsnow.com)
- Train derailment sparks major fire in Quebec’s Eastern Townships (globalnews.ca)
- Train derailment sparks major fire in Lac-Megantic (cp24.com)
- People missing after train explodes (castanet.net)
- When science goes silent (macleans.ca)
- Canadian academics want to remove ‘muzzle’ from scientific community (globalnews.ca)
- In Ottawa, environment takes back seat to oilpatch. (montrealgazette.com)
- Via terror plot suspect tracked by RCMP for a year (cbc.ca)
- Via terror plot probe tracking broader network of suspects – CBC.ca (cbc.ca)
- Canadians react to RCMP terror plot takedown (cbc.ca)
- Alleged terror plot thwarted by arrests in Ontario, Quebec – Politics – CBC News (coralvillecourier.typepad.com)
- Report: Canadian, US Authorities Thwart Alleged Terror Plot (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Canada arrests two in al-Qaeda terror plot connected to Iran (flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com)
- Breaking: Canada busts terrorist plot in Quebec; Update: Two in custody; Update: Targeted Niagara Falls train (hotair.com)