The MHA for St. John’s East said the NDP party is concerned about the possible ill effects of fracking and is joining the voices of a growing number of people from across the province who want a moratorium on fracking until more is known about what impact it could have.
That’s why he has asked Natural Resources minister Tom Marshall for an impact statement on the fracking that took place at that time.
“I can’t seem to find an environmental assessment on this and the minister couldn’t confirm whether an impact statement was done,” he said. “But the minister did confirm two holes were drilled in the Flat Bay area and were fracked.”
Murphy said the process of slick water fracking is what is of concern, because of the types of chemicals that can be used. He said petroleum companies don’t have to disclose what’s used because it’s considered to be priority information.
“Some of the chemicals used in fracking can be very dangerous and we don’t know what will or has gone into the ground,” Murphy said. “We don’t know the regulations that will be in place or what regulations around the security of water will take place.”
Until such regulations are put in place, he said there should be a moratorium on fracking.
Murphy said hydraulic fracturing is a cheap way for companies to get oil up from the sub-surface, and it’s estimated that from Parsons Pond on the Northern Peninsula to Bay St. George South, there is potential for one to three billion barrels of recoverable “sweet” oil. This is oil that takes very little refining, and that’s why everyone wants it.
The average life expectancy of a fracked field is about two years, according to Murphy, then the company moves onto another field because the capital costs of doing this are fairly cheap.
“It’s huge potential and while the NDP party is not there to stop development, we do believe it has to be responsible development and more has to be known about slick water fracking before we agree to it going ahead,” he said.
Between tourism at Gros Morne National Park to the fishing waters of the Port au Port Bay, Murphy said there is a lot to protect on the west coast.
He said one petition on fracking was presented in the House of Assembly this week, and the NDP is hoping lots more people will sign its online petition along with those being collected by groups in different areas of western Newfoundland.
The petition can be found at www.nlndpcaucus.ca.