APTN: Elsipogtog prepares to confront SWN’s machinery

National News | 13. Nov, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Elsipogtog prepares to confront SWN’s machinery

(Elsipogtog Warriors and supporters along Hwy 11 where SWN Resources Canada laid down geophone lines Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Charmaine Sock)

APTN National News
LAKETON, NB–Warriors from Elsipogtog First Nation were preparing Tuesday evening to confront the machinery owned by a Houston-based energy firm conducting shale gas exploration work just north of the Mi’kmaq community.

SWN Resources Canada is expected to roll out its thumper trucks Wednesday in an area along Hwy 11 and about 46 kilometres north of Elsipogtog First Nations. The company laid out a string of geophones Tuesday which will be used to capture the vibrations emitted by the thumper trucks to create imagery of shale gas deposits in the area.

The majority of residents in Elsipogtog want to stop SWN’s exploration work fearing its completion would lead to the extraction of shale gas deposits through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Several warriors and supporters gathered around a fire Tuesday evening along Hwy 11 preparing for Wednesday’s appearance of the thumper trucks. Several planned to stay at the site overnight, with some sleeping in tents and others beneath tarps strapped to branches.

“When the sun rises I will be there waiting,” said Sequoyah Bernard, 19, one of the Warriors. “Whatever we decided to do that at that time, we will do.”

Bernard said the tactic could simply be standing the way of the trucks.

“We are not planning anything violent, it will be peaceful, we are going to stand together,” said Bernard.

The RCMP warned people at the encampment earlier in the day that they would be charged with mischief if they impeded SWN’s machinery from doing its work, according to video of the encounter which was posted on Facebook.

Bernard said the threat of charges did little to dampen their resolve.

“With all due respect, we are not listening to what they say. If they want to run us over, they can try,” said Bernard.

Bernard said the RCMP was in the area and a cruiser with its lights flashing was parked nearby along the highway.

“It is just something I feel I have to do,” said Bernard. “I am here for my people, protecting my people. That is what my job title is here.

RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is monitoring the situation.

“Based on things that have happened previously, it would be irresponsible for us not to be in the area,” said Rogers-Marsh.

Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is not there to protect SWN.

“We are not private security,” she said.

The Canadian military also tried to dispel rumours it’s involved in ongoing police operations in the area.

“Currently, there is no official request for military support to RCMP,” said Capt. Clayton Myhill, with the Canadian Joint Operations Command.

SWN referred calls to communications firm Cape Consulting. Calls to senior consultant Tracey Stephenson went to voice mail.

SWN is planning to conduct 14 days of exploration before leaving the region, according to one of the lawyers hired by the firm.

Michael Connors, who is a partner with East Coast law firm McInnes Cooper, met with several dozen people from Elsipogtog and the surrounding communities late Sunday afternoon. He said the company would resume operating their thumper trucks Wednesday.

Connnors said they would face violence if they confronted the company with a blockade.

“Unfortunately, blockades lead to violence,” said Connors, according to a video of the meeting posted on Facebook.

Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi told Connors that the community would not be backing down.

“We are going to be there. Whatever happens, the ball is in your court. Whatever happens, you’re the ones who are going to make the calls,” said Levi, according to the nine-minute video. “Us as Natives and the protectors of this land, we are going to protect it, it is our land, we never ceded this land and we are going to protect it before these waters are contaminated.”

A woman in the crowd, who identified as non-Native, also pledged opposition to the exploration.

“As non-Natives we are going to protect the future of our children,” said the woman, in the video. “So non-Natives and Natives are together.”

SWN has faced intense and prolonged opposition to its shale gas exploration work around Elsipogtog First Nation which exploded after heavily armed RCMP tactical units raided an anti-fracking camp along Route 134 on Oct. 17.The camp was blocking several of SWN’s vehicles which were in a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd.

While the raid freed SWN’s trucks, it sparked day-long clashes between Elsipogtog residents and the RCMP. Several RCMP vehicles were torched and about 40 people were arrested.

A camp still remains on Route 134, which sits about 15 km southeast of Elsipogtog.

People in Elsipogtog and surrounding communities fear the discovery of shale gas would lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The controversial extraction method is viewed by many as posing a dire threat to water sources.

APTN: SWN returning to thump Wednesday: Elsipogtog War Chief

SOURCE: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/11/11/swn-returning-thump-near-elsipogtog-wednesday-war-chief/

APTN National News
ELSIPGOTOG FIRST NATION, NB–SWN Resources Canada is planning to resume its controversial shale gas seismic exploration work on Wednesday, according to Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi

Levi said SWN’s lawyer Michael Connors, who is a partner with East Coast law firm McInnes Cooper, met with several dozen people from Elsipogtog First Nation and the surrounding communities late Sunday afternoon.

Levi said Connors told the people that SWN would withdraw a lawsuit against several community members if the Houston-based firm was allowed to finish its exploration work unimpeded.

“We said no, we are going to be there,” said Levi, in an interview with APTN National News. “What we told him was we are going to be there Wednesday.”

The meeting was held at a longhouse erected at an anti-fracking encampment used over the past summer. The area sits off Hwy 116 near Elsipogtog First Nation.

Connors told the people in the longhouse that SWN would be working for 14 days and warned them not to block the company’s movements or they would face violence.

“I’m not asking anyone not to protest, but I am asking that we don’t do anything that would lead to violence,” said Connors, according to video of the meeting posted on Facebook by Brian Milliea. “Unfortunately, blockades lead to violence.”

Connors said SWN just wants to finish its work and leave the area.

“We don’t want violence and if we can get through two weeks then we will go away for awhile,” said Connors. “I am not saying we are not going to come back, we may not come back, but I think everybody needs some time, you know a break.”

Levi told Connors that the community would not be backing down.

“We are going to be there. Whatever happens, the ball is in your court. Whatever happens, you’re the ones who are going to make the calls,” said Levi, according to the nine minute video. “Us as Natives and the protectors of this land, we are going to protect it, it is our land, we never ceded this land and we are going to protect it before these waters are contaminated.”

A woman in the crowd, who identified as non-Native, also pledged opposition to the exploration.

“As non-Natives we are going to protect the future of our children,” said the woman, in the video. “So non-Natives and Natives are together.”

SWN has faced intense and prolonged opposition to its shale gas exploration work around Elsipogtog First Nation which exploded after heavily armed RCMP tactical units raided an anti-fracking camp along Route 134 on Oct. 17. The camp was blocking several of SWN’s exploration vehicles in a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd. in Rexton, NB.

While the raid freed SWN’s trucks, it sparked day-long clashes between Elsipogtog residents and the RCMP. Several RCMP vehicles were torched and about 40 people were arrested.

A camp still remains on Route 134, which sits about 15 kilometres southeast of Elsipogtog.

SWN was initially expected to resume its exploration work last Monday. Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock told reporters last Sunday that SWN’s lawyers had informed him the company was planning to finish its seismic exploration work along Hwy 11.

While community members mobilized to confront the company, the thumper trucks, which are used in the seismic exploration, did not appear.

Levi said Connors told the meeting that the company would be laying out geophones on a section of Hwy 11 on Tuesday and that the thumper trucks would return on Wednesday.

Geophones pick up the vibrations from thumper trucks to create imaging of shale gas deposits.

The exploration area is about 46 kilometres north of Elsipogtog.

People in Elsipogtog and surrounding communities fear the discovery of shale gas would lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The controversial extraction method is viewed by many as posing a dire threat to water sources.

“They are pretty desperate for trying to arrange something like that,” said Levi. “We are not taking the bait and we are going to be there protecting mother earth.”

CBC: Idle No More group in Akwesasne protests fracking

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/idle-no-more-group-in-akwesasne-protests-fracking-1.2421198?cmp=rss

Idle No More group in Akwesasne protests fracking

CBC News Posted: Nov 09, 2013 2:45 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 09, 2013 3:47 PM ET

About a dozen people from an Idle No More group based on the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve are marching today against shale gas exploration.

They blocked the Seaway International Bridge, also known as the Three Nations Bridge, connecting Cornwall, Ont. and Massena, NY for about an hour early on Saturday afternoon.

The group gathered to raise public awareness about the dangers of fracking, the process used to extract gas from the earth by injecting fluid into shale rocks to release the natural gas inside.

The demonstrators also wanted to show solidarity with the Mi’kmaq protesters in Rexton, N.B., where tensions exploded three weeks ago after the RCMP tried to dismantle a blockade set up by protesters.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne posted a note to its Facebook page on Nov. 6 saying its members had met with the group of protesters prior to the march and they confirmed bridge traffic wouldn’t be disrupted.

The council said in the note that the group vowed instead to undertake an educational campaign and pass out leaflets during the demonstration. However, the protest veered onto the bridge, forcing local police to close it.

According to Cornwall police, the bridge has since re-opened and traffic is flowing freely.

No arrests have been reported so far. Akwesasne police were unavailable to comment.

Akwesasne straddles the border between Quebec, Ontario and New York.

 

CTV: Protesters hope sacred fire will put a stop to shale gas exploration

CTV Atlantic
Published Wednesday, November 6, 2013 6:31PM AST

Anticipation is growing as protesters await the arrival of SWN Resources to resume shale gas testing in Rexton, N.B.

When they do, First Nations members plan to light a sacred fire that, according to tradition, can’t be crossed without permission for four days after it is lit.

“We believe there’s spirits there and ancestors arrive here to help use and to protect us,” says sun dancer Louis Jerome. “This is why the sacred fire is very important.”

Photos

Shale gas protesters gather in Rexton, N.B. on Nov. 6, 2013. (CTV Atlantic)

The protesters hope the lighting of the sacred fire will stop shale gas exploration in Rexton.

“They have to really respect that because we cannot move, even the RCMP, they can’t move that,” says Jerome.

Police say they don’t have a problem with the sacred fire, as long as it’s off the road.

However, police say the protesters could be breaking the law if they light the fire too close to the highway, which could endanger motorists and the public.

“I think it’s really important for people to understand that public safety is paramount and that anybody lighting a fire or blocking a road is certainly putting people’s lives at risk,” says RCMP Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh.

SWN Resources was supposed to resume shale gas testing this week but the easily recognizable thumper trucks are nowhere to be seen.

However, geophones lining sections of the highway suggest the company is present.

As support for the protesters continues to grow, it appears neither side is backing down.

On Tuesday, Premier David Alward reconfirmed his commitment to shale gas exploration and protesters reconfirmed their commitment to stopping it.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis

 

CBC: Hundreds of shale gas opponents demonstrate at NB legislature

SOURCE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/hundreds-of-shale-gas-opponents-demonstrate-at-legislature-1.2415397

Hundreds of shale gas opponents demonstrate at legislature

Crowd of between 350 and 650 call for ban on exploration

CBC News Posted: Nov 05, 2013 12:29 PM AT Last Updated: Nov 05, 2013 6:19 PM AT

An anti-shale gas rally was held at the legislature on Tuesday, just as the legislature was set to begin a new session.An anti-shale gas rally was held at the legislature on Tuesday, just as the legislature was set to begin a new session. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

Hundreds of protesters crowded the front of the provincial legislature in Fredericton on Tuesday, demonstrating against shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.

The protest coincided with the day of the throne speech, in which the Alward government pledged to forge ahead with exploiting the province’s natural resources.

Outside, protesters demanded a stop to shale gas exploration and development of the industry in the province, which they fear could cause environmental damage, including contamination of groundwater supplies.

“They go into the community to exploit the people of the community,” said protester Charles Richard. “Once they exploit them, take everything, they pack their bags and they go. That’s why they call them carpetbaggers.”

Police estimated there were between 350 and 400 protesters. The Council of Canadians say they counted 650.

The anti-shale gas protesters headed out for a march in the city, ending with speeches and songs on Fredericton’s green, just down the street from the legislature. A native longhouse and three teepees lined the Saint John River.

Twelve-year-old Isaac Cyr was one of the youngest protesters. He’s from the Elsipogtog First Nation, which has been at the centre of major anti-shale demonstrations in Rexton, including a violent clash with RCMP on Oct. 17 that ended in 40 arrests.

“At the Rexton site I was the fire keeper for four days,” he said. “I maintained the fire, the sacred fire.”

Anti-shale gas protesters weren’t the only demonstrators outside the legislature. A small group of paramedics gathered, unhappy with cuts to the night shift in the Chipman area.

“Our concern is that a trial layoff will impact emergency services throughout the greater Fredericton and Grand Lake area,” said Trent Piercy, president of the paramedic union.

CBC: Stage set for shale gas showdown

SWN Resources to resume exploration this week while aboriginal leaders vow to continue protests

By Jacques Poitras, CBC News Posted: Nov 04, 2013 6:37 AM AT Last Updated: Nov 04, 2013 6:37 AM AT

It could be another contentious week in New Brunswick on the issue of shale gas development.

Premier David Alward has confirmed that SWN Canada is planning to resume exploration for shale gas in Kent County in the coming days and weeks.

John LeviElsipogtog warrior chief John Levi says protests will start again if SWN Resources resumes exploring for shale gas this week. (Jacques Poitras / CBC)

​And that has prompted warnings from aboriginal activists that there will be more protests in an attempt to stop the company.

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