Saturday, October 6, 2012
Gaz de schiste - Lettre de Marie-Eve Doré
"Clean-energy activism is growing
Re: “ ‘A beautiful day’ for environmentalists” (Gazette, Sept. 21)
Michelle Lalonde’s article was both instructive and objective. I wish to point out, however, that there is strong opposition in Quebec, not only to shale gas drilling, or fracking, but also to all new fossil fuel (dirty energy) development and there is a high level of public awareness of clean energy alternatives.
Moreover, while opposition to fracking is strong in rural areas, as the articled stated, it is also strong in the cities and towns dotting the entire St. Lawrence Valley, from Montreal to Quebec City and beyond to the Gaspé Peninsula. Also, we have held not just one or two, but over a hundred shale gas and green energy information sessions and conferences in the last two years.
Overall, 37,000 residents have signed a petition saying they reject any shale gas drilling in their locality and on their property. Signatories to this petition include thousands of farmers and other large land owners.
For their part, many municipalities have passed bylaws prohibiting use of their water for fracking operations and use of their sewage plants to treat fracking waste fluids.
Activism-wise, a highly structured and organized network of volunteer citizen groups fiercely opposed to fracking has grown from just a few groups two years ago to 90 active groups, and climbing. The network is led by people, such as coordinator Serge Fortier, who devote their free time to fighting tirelessly for this cause. The movement comprises also a scientific committee of over 150 experts from varied disciplines all in favour of a shale gas moratorium. In addition, all leading Quebec environment groups have demanded a moratorium.
The group I represent, the Association pour la Protection des Riverains et du Territoire de Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, is part of the fracking opposition network. In Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, 95 per cent of land owners have said a resounding “NO” to shale gas companies accessing their property. My house sits directly atop a section of the Utica rock formation containing shale gas, that is close to the surface, and there is a geological fault nearby. If fracking were to occur in this vicinity, my home could be highly vulnerable to contamination of my drinking water by fracking chemicals and to a methane explosion. I don’t want this to happen to my little piece of paradise and who would?
On Sept. 22, shale gas and fossil fuel opponents converged on Drummondville for international anti-fracking day, called Global Frackdown, and to discuss clean energy alternatives. Upcoming citizen initiatives include a trip to Vermont to tour a major solar farm and biogas plant.
What is at stake here is more than just profits and development. Rather, it is the kind of world and future we wish to leave our children.