Protesters camp out to continue shale gas exploration fight
LAKETON, N.B. -About 30 people huddled around a fire for warmth as they camped out along Highway 11 in Laketon Wednesday morning to protest shale gas exploration in the province.
Crews lined the road with geophones used to conduct the testing, but spent much of the day repairing equipment that was vandalized overnight.
The dispute was over land — protesters occupied a piece of land they said was crown land, but the RCMP carried a document signed by the land owner that granted SWN Resources the right to work on the property.
“You can bring the owner and we’ll deal with it then, but right now they (SWN) are not coming in,” said one protester.
Judd Poulette, who came from his home in Cape Breton to join the protesters, said he was waiting for seismic testing trucks owned by SWN to arrive.
“Just keeping the peace. We are not here for violence any more,” said Poulette.
Some protesters said they will do whatever it takes to stop shale gas exploration in the area, including standing in front of SWN’s thumper trucks when they arrive in the area to resume testing. However, nobody knows exactly when that will happen.
Crews from a company named Geokinectics said the lines leading to at least 50 of the geophones had been deliberately cut.
By mid-afternoon, there was still no sign of the SWN’s trucks. A representative from the company wouldn’t confirm when work would resume.
The day also had its share of disputes. When a security guard hired by SWN arrived, police had to move to settle angry protesters. The security guard quickly drove off and more RCMP officers arrived on scene.
Poulette said he’s more determined than ever to keep protesting.
“Some people said that we would not make it through the winter, but I guess they don’t know us well enough.”
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