Jessica Ernst Can Sue Alberta Over Fracking

14 12 2014

Jessica Ernst Fracking Battle: Alberta Will Not Appeal Court Ruling

CP  | By The Canadian Press
Posted: 12/09/2014 4:29 pm EST Updated: 40 minutes ago
Jessica Ernst

ROSEBUD, Alta. – Alberta will not appeal a court ruling that says a woman can sue the province over hydraulic fracturing that she alleges has so badly contaminated her well that the water can be set on fire.

Jessica Ernst began legal action against Alberta’s energy regulator and Calgary-based energy company Encana (TSX:ECA) in 2007, and amended her statement of claim in 2011 to include Alberta Environment.

Last month, Chief Justice Neil Wittmann of Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed the government’s application to strike it from the lawsuit.

An Alberta Justice spokeswoman gave no reason for the government’s decision not to appeal.

Ernst alleges fracking on her land northeast of Calgary released hazardous amounts of chemicals such as methane into her well and that her concerns were not properly investigated.

She says she is delighted and surprised by the province’s decision not to appeal and is looking forward to reading the government’s statement of defence.

“After seven arduous years a stunning victory stands,” Ernst said Tuesday from her home in the hamlet of Rosebud. “The truth will have its day in court.”

In its statement of defence, Encana has denied all of Ernst’s allegations.

In September, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld another ruling that said Ernst could not include the province’s energy regulator in her lawsuit.

Ernst said she is seeking leave to appeal the September ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping water, nitrogen, sand and chemicals at high pressure underground to fracture rock and allow natural gas or oil to flow through wells to the surface.

— By John Cotter in Edmonton

Colchester Co Allows AIS to Dump Frack Wastewater in Debert

13 12 2014


(CP) – Approval has been granted by the County of Colchester for Atlantic Industrial Services to dispose of millions of litres of treated fracking water into the municipal sewer system.

Under the approval the public has been given until Dec. 29 to submit an appeal.

For the past several years Atlantic Industrial Services has been storing millions of litres of flowback water from hydraulic fracking operations in Kennetcook.

Earlier this year, the company disposed of two million litres through a pilot project at the Lafarge cement plant near Brookfield, where the treated water was used as a coolant in the kiln, heated to 700 degrees Celsius and disposed of through evaporation.

The company also recently attempted to negotiate a deal with the town of Amherst with an offer of $500,000 to dispose of the water stored in Debert, along with another 20-million litres still remaining in holding ponds in Kennetcook, but that was turned down after objections from the public.

Some 10-million litres remain in the Debert holding tanks.

(Truro News)

Fracking opponents want long moratorium

8 12 2014
Moratorium ‘pussyfooting,’ young lawsuit claimants say
james foster Times & TranscripT

COCAGNE • Young claimants in an anti-fracking lawsuit filed against SWN Resources Canada and the New Brunswick and Canadian governments on Friday called for a 25-year countrywide moratorium on all fossil fuel operations in Canada.   The youthful litigants involved in what they call The People’s Lawsuit gathered here Friday to discuss how to move ahead with their opposition to hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas.   Marcel White said he is unhappy about a“regional”fracking moratorium being discussed in the New Brunswick legislature, terming the proposed moratorium for this province“pussyfooting.”   “What part of no fracking don’t they understand?”White asked.   Plaintiff Marc Bernard called the move: “a weak effort that only pleases the companies, not the people.”   The group urged other young people and the not-so-young as well to join what they term a“lawful rebellion.”   “We are asking young people, all people, to join us and support our lawsuit,”Bernard said.“We are claiming our right to a future. Fossil fuels are known to contribute to climate change. It’s insane.”   Bernard urged others to get involved in the group’s stand against hydraulic fracturing, a process by which natural gas is freed from sandstone by pumping a mix of water, sand and some chemicals into sandstone formations to fracture the rock.   “Write letters, complain about the injustices we’re facing, support our cause by sharing on social media and especially by joining Lobby For The Future groups to counter powerful industry lobby groups who have been influencing local and national governments,” Bernard said.   Willi Nolan, the plaintiff in the suit who has been designated Grandmother of the young litigants, underlined that all ages are affected by hydro-fracking, but young people will be affected the most.   “They are facing problems that older generations won’t have to,”she said.   “I’m kind of ashamed of my generation, with so many indifferent to problems like climate change because they’ll be gone in a few years. The young people need us to stand up with them.”


Youth claimants of ‘The Peoples Lawsuit’ – from left to right, Jean-Sebastien Theriault, Willi Nolan, and Marcel White – host a media conference at the Vortex Free Café in Cocagne on Friday to announce their proposal for a territorial, federal and provincial moratorium on fossil fuel operations, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas and oil. They also provided updates on the status of The Peoples Lawsuit.   PHOTO:VIKTOR PIVOVAROV/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT

APTN Nov. 2013: NB Chiefs Group had Contracts from SWN, Irving

7 12 2014

NB chiefs group, Mi’kmaq district council received contracts from SWN and Irving-owned security firm

NB chiefs group, Mi’kmaq district council received contracts from SWN and Irving-owned security firmBy Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The main New Brunswick chiefs organization received a contract from a Houston-based energy company facing ferocious opposition from Elsipogtog First Nation residents over its shale gas exploration.

SWN Resources Canada also “did everything right” under the consultation process agreed to between the provincial government and the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in New Brunswick, according to the lawyer for the chiefs organization.

The AFNCNB has been receiving funding from SWN for the past two years to provide environmental monitoring for the company while it explores for shale gas in the province, said Mike Scully, who is the consultation liaison for the AFNCNB.

Scully said six people have been hired to follow SWN’s workers as they work exploration lines in their search for shale gas deposits.

Scully also said that Industrial Security Ltd (ISL), which is on contract with SWN, issued a subcontract to the North Shore Mi’kmaq District Council for nine people to do “security related work” associated with SWN. Elsipogtog First Nation is not part of the district council which includes seven Mi’kmaq communities in the region.

The council includes the communities of  Bouctouche First Nation, Eel Ground First Nation, Eel River First Nation, Fort Folly First Nation, Indian Island First Nation, Pabineau First Nation and Metepenagiag First Nation.

ISL also subcontracted work to Chief to Chief Consulting. 

The Irving shadow

ISL is owned by JD Irving Ltd. and it is part of a corporate empire headed by the Irving family which dominates New Brunswick.  The Irvings have cast a large shadow over the ongoing Mi’kmaq-led anti-fracking protests.

Along with owning ISL, JD Irving also owns the compound at the centre of the RCMP’s heavily-armed Oct. 17 raid. The raid freed SWN’s trucks which were in the compound that had been blocked by an anti-fracking camp along Route 134 in Rexton, NB.

ISL is also expected to play a key role in the upcoming trial of six members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society. Some of the warriors face charges for allegedly confining up to seven employees of “Irving security” in a compound holding SWN’s vehicles on Oct. 16, according to RCMP charge sheets.

Irving Oil , which is operated independently from JD Irving, has an interest in seeing the development of shale gas deposits as a source of cheap energy to expand its refining capacity to handle Alberta mined bitumen which is expected to flow to the province if TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project gets approved. TransCanada and Irving Oil announced a joint venture in August to build a new $300 million marine terminal in Saint John.

AFNCNB says forced to consult on NB’s terms

Scully couldn’t say how much money the contracts with ISL and SWN are worth.

Scully was asked to speak to APTN National News on behalf of the AFNCNB by Eel Ground First Nation Chief George Ginnish. Ginnish is co-chair of the AFNCNB.

Dozens of Elsipogtog residents and their allies turned back SWN’s exploration trucks Thursday after an hours long standoff involving the RCMP on Hwy 11, about 46 km north of the community. One woman was arrested for allegedly “causing a disturbance,” the RCMP said.

Elsipogtog Coun. Craig Sock said the band had also filed for an injunction Thursday against SWN with the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton. Sock said the band is seeking to have a judge stop SWN’s work until the company conducts more consultation.

“They never did any consultation with our community,” said Sock.

Scully also said Elsipogtog gave the AFNCNB the mandate to conduct consultation on the community’s behalf about two years ago.

“The assembly has delegated authority from the member bands to conduct the procedural aspects of consultation on their behalf,” said Scully.

Sock said that delegated authority was signed over by a previous band council.

“This is a whole new chief and council and the community wasn’t consulted properly,” said Sock.

But Scully said SWN did everything it had to do under the phased in consultation process agreed to by the AFNCNB and the province which focused exclusively on exploration. Scully said SWN only received licenses from the province to explore which narrowed the scope of the consultation.

“In my view SWN did everything right,” he said.

Scully said the chiefs weren’t happy with that approach and wanted consultation on all aspects of the planned project, from exploration to extraction, but the province wouldn’t budge.

“(The province) asserted the decision was to issue permits for seismic exploration and that is the decision that technically and legally we were limited to consult on,” said Scully. “There is a reciprocal duty to consult…we didn’t like it but we worked within the parameters that were proposed.”

The AFNCNB have belated called on the province to suspend SWN’s licenses following the Oct. 17 raid.

Ginnish said in a statement that the “phased approach to consultation is incompatible with the Aboriginal perspective.”

The statement did not mention the AFNCNB receiving a contract from SWN as part of the consultation process or that SWN paid for AFNCNB staff to visit the company’s operations in Arkansas.

Scully said people from Elsipogtog also went to Arkansas on the company’s dime, but he would not reveal who they were.


3 12 2014
Idle No More

Idle No More stands in solidarity with all land and human rights defenders and protectors.   Read the actions and updates below and share your Idle No More story for Dec 10th!

Dec 10th – Celebrating Idle No More Stories

We invite you to share your artwork, videos, poems, songs and stories for us to share with the world. SHARE THE SPIRIT OF IDLE NO MORE! What does Idle No More mean to you? How did you get involved in the movement? How are you still involved? How is your INM work impacting your community?

Share Your Idle No More Video

Standing on our Inherent/ Treaty Position! #STOPC27

Indigenous Nations from Treaties No. 4, 6 and 7 are actively organizing to resist Canada’s forceful implementation of C-27 legislation (First Nations Financial Transparency and Accountability Act).  The government of Canada’s C-27 legislation came into effect July 2014, calling for the public posting of consolidated audits and individuals’ income and expenses on a website hosted by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) in violation of the rights of the Indigenous individuals and the Indigenous Nations.

Read More – Idle No More Website – StopC27 Website

Dec 3, 2014:  Thunderchild First Nation Court Hearing and Rally #CFAHoldRations

Thunderchild refuses to sign 2014/15 Contribution Funding Agreement (CFA) and has taken court action.  The title of the court case is “Thunderchild First Nation et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen et al.” All are invited to organize their own events across the lands in support.

Event Info – Idle No More Website – Facebook Event Page – Thunderchild Website

Stop Statoil Deep Sea Oil Drilling In Aotearoa

Stop Drilling PosterSeismic testing, which has a devastating impact on the environment, begins in December as the first step towards oil drilling. Come, learn, enjoy and discuss our environment’s future before it’s too late.

Event Info – Idle No More Website – Facebook Event Page

We Stand Together: Courageous First Nation Challenges Canada China FIPPA

Hupacasath First Nation calls for greater disclosure on the impact of the FIPPA Agreement in wake of Prime Minister Harper’s trip to China.  Brenda Sayers, a representative of the Hupacasath Nation added, “The Prime Minister had an opportunity to strengthen relationships with First Nations through the Kelowna Accord, but that promise was broken…”

Read More – Website – Facebook Page

Burnaby Mountain Resistance

Burnaby Mountain, located on the outskirts of Vancouver and Burnaby, British Columbia, is surrounded by residents concerned about the impacts of a Kinder Morgan trans-mountain pipeline expansion.  Anti-pipeline activists set up an encampment on Burnaby Mountain in September in an attempt to block Kinder Morgan crews from accessing the area.  Since then, a court injunction was granted to Kinder Morgan, giving them access to the mountain to begin their survey and drilling work.  Indigenous Peoples whose unceded lands are located on Burnaby Mountain along with allies have been vigilant and peaceful while some have crossed a line to protest and have gotten arrested. To date approximately 50 arrests have been made.

Read More – News – Idle No More Website

Northern Trappers “Holding the Line” in Treaty 8 near LaLoche, Saskatchewan

Idle No More and Defenders of the Land support and acknowledge the Northern Trappers Alliance in protecting and defending their lands and waters against mineral companies’ exploration and extraction activities, which will inevitably impact their health, environment and sources of livelihood.  For the long term, this impact will adversely affect all peoples.

Read More – Idle No More Website – Full Statement of Solidarity

CNRL Oil Spills Too Common- **ANOTHER OIL SPILL** Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

“RED EARTH CREEK, Alta. – The Alberta Energy Regulator says close to 60,000 litres of crude oil have spilled into muskeg in the province’s north…The AER is also investigating bitumen leaks at CNRL’s Primrose oilsands project in eastern Alberta, which were discovered during the spring of 2013. Some 1.2 million litres of a bitumen-water emulsion have been recovered.”

Read More – News

Kandi Mossett Fights Fracking in North Dakota

“…This is starting to be a common occurrence that we’re starting to see, it’s what, for me, used to be called ‘God’s Country’…it’s so hard to do this work when so many are against you but we do, we get together, we organize, and we take back the power because nobody’s going to do it for us…”

Kandi Mossett Video

No Oil Drilling in Canary Islands

The Spanish  government  and  oil corporation Repsol  started oil drilling  in pristine marine sanctuary off Canary Islands. Locals are irate because of the inevitable environmental degradation and the damage to the tourism industry. The Spanish Army attacked a peaceful demonstration of Greenpeace activists, resulting in injuries and a fine of 50,000 euros to release the Artic Sunrise. The group Canarias NYC is organizing numerous protests in New York. Our next protest will be on Tuesday, December 4 to oppose an award that the president of Repsol will receive by the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce.

Read More – Facebook Page – Website

Gallant promises hydro-fracking moratorium bill by Christmas

2 12 2014

Bill on hydraulic fracturing moratorium will be introduced, but it isn’t clear if it will pass in December

CBC News Posted: Dec 02, 2014 2:31 PM AT Last Updated: Dec 02, 2014 3:09 PM AT

Premier Brian Gallant says his government will introduce legislation to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing before Christmas.

Gallant made the promise on Tuesday in an interview with CBC News ahead of tomorrow’s Throne Speech.

There’s been speculation about exactly what a moratorium will allow.

Brian Gallant

Premier Brian Gallant plans to introduce a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick before Christmas. (CBC)

​Gallant is offering no new details, but says the bill will be introduced soon.

“You can expect that it’ll come this session. You can expect that it’ll be introduced before Christmas,” said Gallant.

“With that said, I don’t know if it will pass — obviously as you can understand it will depend on what happens in the legislature and what the opposition decides to do and how the debate unfolds.

“But you can be certain that it will be introduced this session and introduced before Christmas.”

Gallant has long promised a moratorium that would prohibit hydraulic fracturing to produce shale gas until more is known about any potential risks to people’s health, the water supply and the environment.

The moratorium was a key plank in the campaign platform that lifted Gallant’s Liberals to victory in the provincial election in September.

It was held out in contrast to the Progressive Conservative promise to pursue shale gas development and the development of other natural resources to create jobs.

The legislature will also debate a capital budget before Christmas, so it’s not clear if there will be enough time to pass the moratorium bill as well.

NB’rs for Reproductive Justice

30 11 2014
Inviting all Green Party supporters to join with other New Brunswickers who care about reproductive justice!

Join the Rally for Reproductive Health
Wednesday, December 3rd, 12pm – 1:30pm
New Brunswick Legislature (706 Queen Street, Fredericton, NB)

Reproductive Justice New Brunswick (RJNB) has invited us to rally outside the Legislature on December 3rd, the first day that the legislature will sit.

RJNB is pleased with the recent repeal of laws that prevented access to abortion services but nothing has been mentioned concerning prevention or follow up, or the need for more community health care services.

The recent announcement from the Liberal government is an important first step, but there are still many obstacles facing those seeking greater reproductive control and we need to call on the government to enact our Green party health agenda!!

There will be music, posters, placards, chants, and speakers, including Megan Mitton, Green Party Critic for Women’s Equality. Join us to show support for a future when all people can access the healthcare they need to thrive and decide if, when, and how to have or parent children with dignity and support.

To find out more, and stay updated on the event, you can join the Facebook event:

Invitation aux ami-e-s du Parti vert et à toutes les personnes s’intéressant à la justice reproductive :

Rassemblement pour la santé reproductive
Le mercredi 3 décembre, de 12h à 13h30
Assemblée législative du Nouveau-Brunswick, 706, rue Queen, Fredericton, NB

Justice Reproductive Nouveau-Brunswick organise un rassemblement à l’extérieur de l’Assemblée le 3 décembre, la première journée de la session législative, afin d’appuyer l’abrogation des règlements qui empêchent l’accès à l’avortement.

JRNB applaudit l’annonce récente de cette abrogation mais se préoccupe du fait que le gouvernement n’a rien dit au sujet de la prévention, de la suite à ce dossier, ni du besoin pour davantage de services de soins de santé communautaire.

L’annonce récente par le gouvernement Libéral est un premier pas important mais il existe d’autres obstacles à la prise de contrôle de notre propre santé reproductive, et il faut évidemment revendiquer l’adoption du programme de santé du Parti vert.

Il y aura de la musique et des chants, des pancartes et des bannières, et des discours par des gens comme Megan Mitton, porte-parole du Parti vert pour l’égalité des femmes. Nous souhaitons un avenir où les services de santé essentiels sont accessibles et où chaque personne peut choisir quand et comment elle veut être parent, avec dignité et respect.

Pour en savoir plus, voir la page Facebook de l’événement :

$100 million Alton gas project delayed over Mi’kmaq concerns

25 11 2014

N.S. government intervenes seven years after environmental approvals

By Paul Withers, CBC News Posted: Oct 29, 2014 4:54 PM AT Last Updated: Oct 29, 2014 5:08 PM AT

The provincial government has halted work on this portion of the $100 million Alton Gas Storage project.

The provincial government has halted work on this portion of the $100 million Alton Gas Storage project. (CBC)

The Nova Scotia government has halted part of the construction work on the $100-million Alton Natural Gas Storage Project until Calgary-based AltaGas carries out further consultation with the Mi’kmaq, CBC News has learned.

Nova Scotia is enforcing the consultation by withholding provincial permits. The bureaucratic time out was revealed Wednesday at a seminar on aboriginal environmental consultation in Halifax.

“We have altered timelines… to accommodate further consultation,” says Peter Geddes of Nova Scotia Environment.

The Assembly of Mi’kmaq Chiefs demanded a halt to the project last week claiming its concerns over the project’s impact on fish have not a beenaddressed.

“The commitment we’ve heard is there won’t be any further permits or approvals delivered on this particular project until meaningful and adequate consultation has happened,” says Twila Gaudet, consultation liason for the Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative.

On Wednesday officials with the Department of Environment, the Nova Scotia Office of Aboriginal Affairs and AltaGas confirmed that permits are being withheld.

AltaGas plans to drill into large underground salt caverns to store natural gas near Stewiacke, N.S. It will flush large quantities of salty water generated during the construction process out with the falling tides at the confluence of the Shubenacadie and Stewiacke rivers.

The project received its required environmental assessment in 2007. Construction work to breach a dyke — which was part of the original approvals — has been halted because Nova Scotia Environment has refused to issue a permit. The drill site is still active.

Premier Stephen McNeil says his government is arranging a meeting between AltaGas and the Mi’kmaq in the expectation common ground will be found.

“But listen, there is a responsibility in this province to consult and we’re going to continue to consult until our partners are happy,” McNeil told CBC News.

AltaGas allowed CBC on site Wednesday, but declined comment.

Nova Scotia’s decision to halt the project threatens construction timelines and raises questions about when a company with a seven-year-old environmental assessment can expect to clear regulatory hurdles.

Bureaucrats said Wednesday in Halifax that securing an environmental assessment does not end a proponent’s requirement to consult.

The Mi’kmaq agree.

“The EA isn’t the end of it. There is still a lot more needed,” says Gaudet. “The consultation process supersedes that.”

Amherst NS Rejects Fracking Wastewater Deal

24 11 2014

Company that treats the water offered the town half a million dollars to dump it in their sewage system

CBC News Posted: Nov 24, 2014 9:27 PM AT Last Updated: Nov 24, 2014 9:27 PM AT

Protesters against Amherst taking treated wastewater from fracking sites.

Protesters against Amherst taking treated wastewater from fracking sites. (CBC)

The town of Amherst has decided against taking in 30 million litres of treated fracking wastewater, the bulk of it from shale gas operations in New Brunswick.

The company that treats the water offered the town half a million dollars to dump it in their sewage system. Officials initially said yes to the plan, but changed their minds after hearing opposition from residents.

For weeks, the mayor and council received emails and letters against the deal.

Town officials held a closed meeting on Sunday, and decided to immediately stop negotiations with the company, Atlantic Industrial Services.

Deputy Mayor George Baker says the issue had become too divisive for the community.

“The outcry, and the financial burden and the situation, if it were sewer coming to our sewage treatment plant and we were doing the treatment, and then outflow like today, I’d have no problem with that,” he said. “I’d have 100 per cent behind that. But who can really guarantee that is it safe?”

Concerns over chemicals

Residents expressed concerns over the levels of chemicals and sodium in the treated wastewater, even though the province and the company both say the water is safe enough to drink.

Mike Clark was one of those residents against the deal.

“Having our voice finally heard is what it was all about,” he said. We weren’t trying to make any change, we were trying to make things the same as they’ve always been. The community really pulled together for this. We’re celebrating right now.”

Not all residents are pleased with the town’s decision, with some saying they really could have used the $500,000 AIS was offering.

Algis Rabna says those in opposition to the project are a small minority.

“They don’t want something, they don’t understand what it is,” he said.

AIS is in similar talks with the town of Dieppe who are looking at a similar offer.

Fracking Approved in Maryland-Virginia-DC Forest

23 11 2014

Fracking Approved in George Washington National Forest, the largest national forest in Eastern U.S. The USFS says before any drilling takes place, there will be a public comment period, and the decision is subject to appeal.

  • by 
  • November 22, 2014
  • 9:00 am

Fracking Approved in Largest National Forest in Eastern U.S.

Written by Anastasia Pantsios, and reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

Despite strong opposition from both elected officials in the affected areas and environmental groups, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has approved fracking in George Washington Forest. Objections to the plan came from members of Congress from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Washington D.C. city council, which passed a resolution opposing it in March. McAuliffe reiterated his opposition before a meeting of the state’s Climate Change and Resilience Commission in September.

George Washington National Forest is a mecca for hikers, fishers and bird watchers. Photo credit: Public radio WVTF

The forest, located in Virginia and West Virginia, is the largest national forest on the east coast. It contains the headwaters of the Potomac River, which feed into the Chesapeake Bay and provide drinking water for millions of people in the Washington, DC/Chesapeake region.

The USFS had initially proposed  to ban fracking in the 1.1 million acre forest, the first outright ban of the practice in a national forest. But when the plan was released in 2011, energy companies complained and exerted pressure on the USFS. About 10,000 acres of the forest are already been leased to oil and gas companies, with private mineral rights existing under another 167,000 acres. The newly released plan will only allow fracking on that land, which is located in sparsely populated rural Highland County, Virginia. The plan also puts off limits another 800,000 acres that were available for drilling.

“We think we’ve ended up in a much better place, which is we are allowing oil and gas drilling,” Robert Bonnie, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for natural resources and environment, told the Associated Press. “From a policy perspective, the Forest Service allows fracking on forest lands throughout the country. We didn’t want to make a policy decision or change policy related to fracking. This decision is about where it’s appropriate to do oil and gas leasing.”

“Allowing the use of fracking within a part of the George Washington National Forest is part of the Obama Administration’s embrace of oil and gas drilling, despite the water, air and climate pollution that is proven to come along with it,” said Earthworks energy program director Bruce Baizel. “In the face of dire warnings from the world’s foremost climate scientists about the need to phase out fossil fuels by 2100 and an authoritative body of science demonstrating the health impacts faced by communities living near oil and gas development, this administration continues to promote an ‘all of the above’ energy policy rather than a swift transition to renewable energy. Nearby communities, local governments, the governor of Virginia, every major water utility in the DC area and the Forest Service’s original recommendation had it right when they opposed the use of hydraulic fracturing in the George Washington National Forest. The President can protect the climate and public health, or he can continue to promote fracking. He cannot do both.”

The leased land lies on the southeastern tip of the lucrative Marcellus shale formation, which has created a fracking boom in Pennsylvania. But the USFS says that the value of this particular land is low and that there has been no interest in drilling  there so far. “The economic value of these reserves is very low,” said Bonnie. “We’ve had very little interest on oil and gas on the forest.”

The USFS says before any drilling takes place, there will be a public comment period, and the decision is subject to appeal.

Read more: