Leaking oil at Shoal Point emphasizes potential fracking hazard

NDP Environment and Conservation Critic George Murphy

NDP Environment critic George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) says horrific pictures of leaking oil from abandoned drill heads on Newfoundland’s west coast highlight one of the major environmental hazards the province could face if hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is ever permitted here.

Murphy says the well heads date from wells drilled possibly in the 1960s or the 1890s; the fact that they already pose as much of a hazard as they do is proof enough for him that there is no way to guarantee the long-term safety of the environment once drilling is permitted.

“Whether these leaks are coming from wells drilled 50 years ago or 120 years ago,it’s a short amount of time in a province’s history,” Murphy said.

Photos shared on the Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group Facebook page show oil running into Port au Port Bay; in one, a person’s hand is covered in oil. Some of these wells were originally drilled on, but because of regular coastal erosion are now in the bay.

Nobody seems to be taking responsibility for e cleanup, the MHA added. “The drilling predates the CNLOPB, so they have nothing to do with it, the provincial environment department has been mum, and we haven’t heard from the feds either,” he said.

“It’s obvious that we have a serious environmental concern on our hands and ignoring it is not going to make it go away.”

The pictures can be seen here:

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