Public debates and heated controversies over hydraulic fracturing have become a constant, currently including in South Africa, Europe and even the meatpacking district in New York. But it was a protest against fracking in eastern Canada that made world news this month: Five police vehicles were burned, a police crack-down led to numerous arrests, and Canada-wide rallies were held in support of the protesters and to protest police behaviour near the rural Elsipogtog First Nation in the province of New Brunswick. On Monday, a court rejected a bid by the company, SWN Resources, to continue a court injunction against the protests, while the provincial Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs called for the company’s licences to be suspended to allow time for consultation.
The Canadian issue is typical: local residents cite concerns about the impact of fracking on the environment, and especially on local ground water. But what is fracking – and why is it so controversial? The answers to that can be found in author Chris Wood’s Facts and Opinions story, Risky Business.
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