Don’t frack Chatham-Kent!


Joanne Lefebvre in CKReview

Can we say “shale fracking” Chatham-Kent? I guarantee it will be on all our lips in the next few years.

In March 2010, the Toronto Star said Ontario was laying the groundwork to allow oil and gas companies out of Calgary to lease private land in our area to explore deep shale fracking. Chatham-Kent would be a test spot for Ontario. My first thought was “this is not the same shale fracking that they’ve done in the United States”. The environmental disaster this method leaves behind has been all over their news. From the contaminated water, wells, soil, and air to the hundreds of cancer causing chemicals they use in this process. People are unable to drink the water, bathe or use it to clean with. The odor, gas and toxins are so bad that people light their water on fire. Families are getting sick living in an unhealthy environment and they have nowhere else to go. Would you like to buy that property? How would you like to sell it?

I googled shale fracking and found out it has already started. The environmental damage from shale fracking in Canada on our east and west coast is already being talked about. Quebec is the only province that seems to want to protect residents from being fracked. They have politicians that put a ban on this industry because of the environmental issues and the loose regulations that govern it. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia  are in the fight of their life to try to stop them from any more fracking. Residents have enjoyed the luxury of having safe tap water all of their lives. They don’t appreciate that their water wells are ruined. The soil is contaminated. The wildlife and the animals are disappearing.  The novelty of lighting your tap on fire has worn off and the cold realization is setting in that this is changing their way of life as they know it. They are fighting to stop this senseless pollution of our earth, done only so oil and gas companies can get rich, and politicians can get re-elected .

 Was It Something I Said?

I contacted Rick Nicholls, our new MPP, on his Facebook page a few months ago about what his stand was on deep shale fracking. Especially considering Chatham-Kent seems first in line for the next fracking. Interesting conversation ensued among Chatham-Kent residents on about what they know about fracking on Nicholls Facebook page. They determined shale fracking today is not using the same technology they did use for the past 50 years. Instead a more radical, deeper and more toxic process has been used. Environmental disasters are more common results for the landowner and surrounding residents than in the past. I continued to post articles on Rick Nicholls Facebook page as I was finding them on fracking (hoping to help). The  conversation about having this in our community continued. Rick never weighed in or answered my questions and I was told he did not have many computer skills and was not familiar with the social media. I asked if there was a secretary or an aide who could reply for him, to explain what his stand was on this industry. Through good conversation and education I was getting some of my answers and it wasn’t very good news for us.

One night after just having looked at the New Brunswick Stop Fracking Web site where I was viewing several documentaries on their residents current nightmares, I noticed a post from Rick Nicholls daughter Brooke that she was sitting with her dad and he was nodding his head about an earlier comment someone had made on his Facebook site. So I asked Brooke if she could ask her Dad since she was sitting with him, “what he thought of the shale fracking in Chatham-Kent” and “if he wanted it in his own back yard.” Since he was obviously busy, I told her have him nod his head once if he is in favor of it. Twice if he didn’t support it. She lol me and told me her dad said he did not know much about the industry and he would have to get ahold of union gas and oil companies to find out more. Probably not a neutral source I thought. since it is the oil and gas industry that wants to do this. I finally had an answer anyway. Within seconds I received a WARNING from Bob Kennedy at Rick Nicholls office that my comment wasn’t called for. I told Bob to lighten-up that we are all concerned about our environment and community and needed to educate and tell ourselves so we didn’t have regrets after it’s too late. With the next comment I went to make, I found I was blocked and without access to continue the conversation. Censored…. and this was still Canada? It was clear at that point that I would no longer have a voice in the conversation so I resigned from the group.

Take Action While You Can

My question to my friends of Chatham, to all the property owners and tax-payers of this community is: do we still have a voice? Is government just dictating our future, our children’s future, our way of life and risking our environment for the sake of profits for the oil and gas companies? Please educate yourself if you have a computer, search out information for yourselves on whether you want this in your community, or even in your province. If you are as alarmed as I am then speak up NOW and let Rick Nicholls know. Your voice needs to be heard. You can email rick at, or call his office in Chatham and talk to Bob Kennedy. Let Kennedy know if you have concerns. Take a look at the industry yourself. Check their track record. There are helpful web sites for more information. If you’re up for some eye-opening videos search YouTube for gas land or fracking hell the untold story 1 and 2.  There are a lot of documented disasters to view and they are coming soon to a neighbourhood near you unless we take action. Thank the politicians for your fracking future or let them know “we are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore!” On-line petitions are available at either or http://stopfrackingontario for you to sign, and if you have the time please give Nicholls a call… while we still have a voice, clean water, air and soil. Plant your seed in our politicians office and lets all hope we have a healthy environment for it to grow in Chatham-Kent’s future.

Rick Nicholls – Contact Information:

Queen’s Park –
Room 316, Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8
Tel: 416-325-9099
Fax: 416-325-9000

Constituency Office –
Suite 100 111 Heritage Road Chatham, Ontario N7M 5W7
Tel: 519-351-0510
Fax: 519-351-7714
Toll Free: 1-800-265-3992

This Wall Street Journal report shows a recent story of how a municipal government won the right to ban fracking. Perhaps this is a solution for Chatham-Kent as well.

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