From late May to August 2013, The Miqmaq community of Elsipogtog in New Brunswick has maintained a sacred fire and a blockade near the junction of highways 126 and 116 west to symbolize a new boundary for fracking in the area.
The fire and gathering have impeded seismic testing trucks or 'thumpers' believed to signal the beginning of shale gas fracking exploration in the area. The region is currently under lease to SWN Resources.
There are about 10 companies licensed to explore for shale gas in the province but SWN Resources is the only one doing seismic testing at the moment.
At the end of May, Noel Augustine, a leader of the local council, sent the following message to SWN headquarters: 'The Migmag Grand Council of the Signigtog district, District 6 hereby gives public notice to all potential developers, the Government of Canada, and the province of New Brunswick, that pursuant to our Indigenous and Inherent rights as the righfull and lawfull owners of all Signigtog District Lands and resources, that no shale gas exploration and/or development or gas line shall proceed within our district without the expressed written consent and full participation of the Migmag Grand Council and the migmag people of the Signigtog District.' In response to the blockade, the province sent in massive numbers of RCMP to clear the highway. The community responded by inviting, all Idle No More & Defenders of the Land - Sovereignty Summer - activists, allies and supporters, and partnership organizations to join its stand to defend the land and water.
Over a few weeks in June, the RCMP has arrested 33 protesters, including children and elders, at various demonstrations in Kent County in recent weeks. Following this, in August some unspecified 'industrial equipment' was torched.
SWN stopped its exploration work at the end of July as a result of a negotiated detente following intensifying protests. The company, however, is widely expected to return to finish its exploration work this month.
The Mi'kmaq Warrior Society has promised to again bolster protests against the exploration work saying they will use 'any means necessary' to stop shale gas exploration on their territory.
The Mi'kmaq Warrior Society believes that the Canadian military has a duty to protect the Mi'kmaq nation from 'enemies, both foreign and domestic' under Peace and Friendship Treaties signed between Mi'kmaq and the British Crown.
Stephanie Merrill of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick said her group was surprised to learn that the Environment Department issued a permit allowing SWN Resources to conduct seismic testing in wetlands in eight counties in the province.
|Name of conflict:||Elsipogtog First Nation v. Fracking, NB, Canada|
|State or province:||New Brunswick|
|Location of conflict:||Elsipogtog First Nation, Moncton, Kent County|
|Accuracy of location||HIGH (Local level)|
|Type of conflict. 1st level:||Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy|
|Type of conflict. 2nd level:||Shale gas fracking|
|Specific commodities:||Natural Gas|
According to the Premier of the province, new regulations for fracking include a requirement for exploratory wells to have a double casing to protect surrounding groundwater. Oil and gas companies also have to buy $10 million in liability insurance to cover personal injury or damage to property or the environment.
|Level of Investment for the conflictive project||45000000|
|Type of population||Rural|
|Company names or state enterprises:||Southwestern Energy Resources from Canada|
|Relevant government actors:||New Brunswick Government, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Military|
|Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:||Mikmaq nation, Idle No More, The Kahnawake Warrior Society, Miqmaq Warrior Society, Council of Canadians, Conservation Council of New Brunswick|
|Intensity||HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)|
|Reaction stage||In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)|
|Groups mobilizing:||Indigenous groups or traditional communities|
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
|Forms of mobilization:||Blockades|
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Threats to use arms
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
|Environmental Impacts||Potential: Desertification/Drought, Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity|
|Health Impacts||Visible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)|
Potential: Other environmental related diseases
|Socio-economical Impacts||Visible: Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place|
|Project Status||Proposed (exploration phase)|
|Conflict outcome / response:||Criminalization of activists|
Strengthening of participation
|Proposal and development of alternatives:||Asking for a moratorium on fracking and recognition of their right to free prior and informed consent over projects in their territory.|
|Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:||Not Sure|
|Briefly explain:||Currently the company has withdrawn but plans to try to re-enter the territory soon.|
|Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network|