‘We’re all concerned about our health’

‘We’re all concerned about our health’ by Erin Pottie, June 26, 2012, Cape Breton Post
Bill and Charlotte Woodhouse have a binder full of reasons why Nova Scotia shouldn’t allow an oil and gas exploration near its largest natural freshwater lake. The couple lives about four kilometres from a Lake Ainslie property that has been staked by PetroWorth Resources for the drilling of a 1,200-metre test well. Today, the seniors await word on whether or not the Nova Scotia Supreme Court will accept an appeal made by the Margaree Environmental Association that seeks to reverse the province’s decision to allow the exploratory drill to take place. Ever since the first word came out about drilling in Lake Ainslie, Bill started a binder that he later labelled “To drill or frack, that is the question. The answer is no.” The binder begins with articles from November 2009 about a company’s interest in seismic testing at the property. It continues with stories of environmental approvals and court battles. Any article Bill saw that dealt with the process known as fracking was cut out and pasted on paper, including articles detailing health problems believed to be associated with fracking. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting fluids down a well under high pressure. Currently, PetroWorth is not seeking to frack at Ainslie Block, but it also hasn’t ruled it out as a possibility. “We’re all concerned about our health,” said Bill. “Just drive around the road and watch the (house) signs for sale. You didn’t see those six months ago.” The couple’s concerns range from drilling chemical runoff into the lake and ecosystem to contamination of well water and the impact the drilling might have on tourism. … “There’ll be noise 24 hours a day, the people live close to it will hear it,” he said. “We are going to get traffic on the road like hell because now we hear stories that they’re going to be hauling (waste) water away.” … “Other people think it’s going to create a lot of employment. I think it’s going to create no employment,” said Bill. “One, because they have their own drillers who travel with the company.” “We’re hoping they don’t get a licence to drill — period — at any time anywhere on the Ainslie Block as far as I’m concerned,” added Charlotte. At the nearby Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Whycocomagh, many patrons said they didn’t wish to talk about the drilling issue because they felt it didn’t concern them. However, Susan MacDonald, who lives about 45 kilometres from West Lake Ainslie in Ottawa Brook, said she’s against the drilling. “We don’t want to get faced with fracking and have it (be) too late to call it back once it starts,” she said.

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