Late last year Alton Gas applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) for a renewal of its approval to construct an underground hydrocarbons storage facility. As part of the NSUARB review interested parties were asked for submissions.
This is the submission of Dale Andrew Poulette, a Mi’kmaq water protector.
Dear members: Gurnham, Deveau, Almon, Clarke, Melanson, Murphy, McGrath, and Nicholson, of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
My name is Dale Andrew Poulette. I am a concerned Mi’kmaq father and have dedicated a considerable part of my life to protecting future generations, to ensure they have the same opportunities to fish and hunt and enjoy the natural world as I did. The land is a huge part of my Mi’kmaq culture and for this reason I have knowledge and an understanding of balance in nature.
I see this project as a direct violation of the Treaty – both the caverns and the brine discharge will negatively affect the land, Treaty Rights, and human safety. Water is one of the most important parts to healthy humans and nature. This project puts both groundwater and river water at risk. To keep a healthy planet we must respect and protect water. I have seen Indigenous People across Turtle Island standing up for water to protect everyone’s future. This is a huge commitment that takes a toll. You as board members have an opportunity to also protect water and provide a safe future in the decision you make.
The caverns are proposed to go on a geological area that we know is uncertain, This puts groundwater at risk from contamination and the potential for well failure. To this date two of the three caverns drilled have failed. This is a horrible track record and begs the question of Alton Gas’ expertise and abilities. Underground water is a connected series of aquifers and if one gets contaminated with gas it can travel for Kilometers. Putting caverns near fault lines is irresponsible and dangerous.
We all have an understanding that nature supports all living things and keeps humans healthy. In the case of this project we must use the precautionary principle which mean do not move forward with a project that has a substantial amount of risk and cannot be proven safe. We need a clean sustainable future and natural gas is not in line with that future. At this point in time no one can argue that putting more fossil fuel infrastructure is safe for our future.
For this project to move forward there must be a plan for the removal of the salt brine. As the plan now stands it will be dumped into the Treaty fishing ground, a free flowing channel that SARA-listed species frequent. Putting these fish in harm’s way directly violates the right to exercise my Treaty Rights as well as future generations.
I know that Environment Canada was not consulted of the brine discharge which was a term and condition in the environmental assessment, specifically 2.1(b) in terms and conditions. If it had been checked off both Alton GAs and NS ENvironment would know that the release of the brine is a deleterious substance making it illegal to dump. This must be taken into consideration because if you are approving a project that the end result will knowingly violate my Treaty Rights the board now has become complicit in violating the Treaty and my Rights.
Dale Andrew Poulette
Dale Andrew Poulette’s letter was publsihed here with his kind permission. There will be more on the submissions and the Alton Gas response in the NS Advocate in the near future. Stay tuned.
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