Sackville Town Council Meeting – July 12, 2010

Representatives from PetroWorth Resources Inc. made a presentation before Sackville town council Monday night, detailing the early stages of oil and gas exploration.

With 154 landowner permits collected out of 160, the company is almost ready to begin clearing paths through the mostly forested land in the Sackville Basin, either by hand or with a mulching machine, to allow for the drill testing, explosions about 5 meters under ground every 60 meters. President Neal Mednick suspects that they will probably find gas, rather than oil.

Mednick said that they would send away the data in the fall and if they found an “ attractive, drill-able target” their process would be to obtain permission from the land owner and the town council before drilling. Councilor John Higham wanted to clarify that the “ allocation of mineral rights is under provincial authority”, so the council does not have the authority to veto any proposed drilling.

Councilor Virgil Hammock expressed concern about the effect of the drilling on individual wells and the water table in general. The company representatives emphasized that the drilling was never any closer than 180 meters from a home, with the proposed testing being at least 600 to 700 meters from the outside proximity of the watershed area. Mednick pointed to the success of Corridor Resources, who have four wells to date, with no apparent damage to the water table.

Councilor Margaret Tusz-King asked whether the individual home owners will be compensated, they will be at $ 700 per km, and also asked if the company could point to any lasting benefits to the community from the proposed drilling, “Large companies often take all the profits and leave the detritus for the community to clean up”, she said. Mednick said the drilling would have “spin off benefits’ of jobs and that one could easily ask residents in the province who have already benefited from drilling on their land.

After further discussion and a presentation by Marc Legere, a 4th year Environmental Studies student from Mount Allison, who told council that the chemicals used in ‘hydro-fracking’, (the process used to extract gas from rock), are considered a trade secret but known to include toxic and radioactive material, the council voted 4 to 2 against allowing Petroworth any further exploration rights, citing the industry’s lack of regulation as the main reason for their stand. Petroworth can still apply through provincial permits for access to the land.

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