Indian Brook First Nation to continue to fight gas storage facility

Indian Brook First Nation to continue to fight gas storage facility
The project may have been approved, but members of Indian Brook First Nation say their fight isn't over. They met Monday afternoon to discuss a controversial gas storage facility beside a nearby river. Their main concern is salty water that will be released into river during construction. Global's Steve Silva

Members of Indian Brook First Nation say they’ve filed an appeal in Nova Scotia Supreme Court to stop a gas storage facility currently under construction north of their community in Fort Ellis.

“We feel that if they put that brine in the river that it’s going to end up killing a lot of fish. I don’t think there have been enough studies on it,” Sipekne’katik Band Chief Rufus Copage said.

Copage said about 40 people attended a public meeting held in the community Monday afternoon. A Global News video journalist wasn’t allowed to enter.

Residents say they are concerned with Alton Natural Gas Storage’s facility which is under construction next to the Shubenacadie River on Riverside Road.

READ MORE: First Nations, environmental groups appealing Alton gas project approval

The gas would be stored in underground salt caverns.

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“During construction of the caverns, brine will be released into a constructed channel connected to the Shubenacadie River where it will mix with the tidal (brackish) river water to maximize dilution,” reads the company’s website.

“The requirements of our monitoring program with the Nova Scotia Environment, Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will ensure that the related brine will not impact the ecosystem of the Shubenacadie River.”

Copage said that on top of environmental concerns, there wasn’t enough public consultation.

Several appeals were filed after the project was approved.

“Having now completed my review of all six appeals, I am satisfied that the terms and conditions of the approval have adequately considered potential impacts resulting from the activity and that the appropriate measures are in place to prevent adverse effects to the Shubenacadie River,” Nova Scotia Environment Minister Margaret Miller said in a press release last month.

There was enough opportunity for the public to be consulted, she added.

READ MORE: Minister dismisses natural gas facility appeals despite First Nations protests

Copage said the community’s legal team is also trying to get an injunction to stop work on the site as soon as possible.

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“We’re definitely putting up a fight. Right now, we’re doing it the legal way. After the legal way is exhausted, then I guess we’ll see what happens from there,” he said.