The outside demonstration moved to the Ambassador Inn in Sussex, the conference site of the Atlantic provinces’ Premiers, later that afternoon. The NB Media Co-op, initially told they would be allowed into the Premiers’ media conference, was turned away at the door after being asked if they were with the Penobsquis group.
The Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis is still seeking the subsidence monitoring results from the Department of Natural Resources in order to properly bring forward their case against PotashCorp. Their request for this information, made through Freedom of Information, was denied due to a contractual agreement between PotashCorp and the Department of Natural Resources. Included in the data requested by the group, and denied by the government, are the specific measurements of land subsidence and displacement at PotashCorp’s monitoring devices around the community. This information could prove that the company is responsible for the damage caused to water, homes and land.
Beth Nixon, spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis is extremely disappointed in the government’s decision to hold back this information. “Residents of Penobsquis and of New Brunswick deserve better. We deserve a government that looks out for our interests, that protects our assets, our communities, and our environments, Nixon says. “Instead, the burden of proof, and the costs to prove anything, rests on us”, she continues.
Nixon says it is emotionally draining to watch her neighbours testify–some in tears, their voices trembling.
Stephanie Merrill, CCNB Action’s Freshwater Protection Coordinator, is leading the organization’s Shale Gas Alert Campaign. She says that the outcome of Penobsquis’ Hearing with the Mining Commissioner is extremely important to the rest of New Brusnwickers.
“Communities throughout the province are watching. Will the government stand up for the people they represent? Or will they back industry no matter what the cost to regular every day New Brunswickers?” she asks. “More and more communities are slated for mining projects, particularly exploration for shale gas. If the government is not willing to hold industry accountable here, we can all expect the same treatment if issues arise from the shale gas industry”, Merrill adds.