Not everyone against 'fracking'

Frank Gale
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Fenwick says oil industry helps tourism

CAPE ST. GEORGE  While some people are against proposed hydraulic fracturing in Western Newfoundland, Peter Fenwick supports the oil industry in its bid to “frack.”

Fenwick said “self-appointed environmentalists” have recently spread alarm regarding oil exploration on the west coast and the practice of “fracking,” as it’s more commonly referred to in the oil industry.

He said one assertion is that the oil industry and fracking will destroy the tourism industry, but it’s his feeling that nothing could be further from the truth.

Inn at the Cape, which is a family business he operates, is within five kilometers of two oil wells — one of them being the only well on Newfoundland soil with a production license.

“In the 17 years since the first well was drilled on the Port au Port Peninsula, we have not seen any negative effects from the oil industry on our tourism industry and quite the reverse is true,” Fenwick said.

The oil industry and its contribution to his inn, local restaurants, general stores and liquor stores have been positive for tourism infrastructure, he added. If additional drilling and fracking is allowed on the west coast, Fenwick is sure the tourism infrastructure in these areas will experience the same economic boost.

He said the oil industry has an appetite for the service industry, and its support often extends the season of bed and breakfast operations and hotels throughout the year.

The footprint of the oil industry is small and the operating well has about two acres of land in its fenced off area, with the company very particular in making sure that it does not disrupt the environment.

“The west coast shale oil must be developed in the next few years if it is to secure markets for its oil before the United States becomes self-sufficient in energy in 2020.” Peter Fenwick, supporter of hydraulic fracturing

Fenwick is concerned that if, as some have suggested, a moratorium is imposed on fracking, it will lead to the end of oil exploration on the west coast and a possible massive oil deposit equal to Hibernia will be closed in for good.

He said fracking is critical if the shale oil is to be made to flow and, without fracking, it’s a lost resource.

“To suggest a moratorium should be put in place is to kill the project entirely,” he said. “The west coast shale oil must be developed in the next few years if it is to secure markets for its oil before the United States becomes self-sufficient in energy in 2020.”

Any oil exploration must go through an environmental assessment, and Fenwick said the Shoal Point proposal would go through two — one by Natural Resources and Environment and another by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Oil Petroleum Board.

He said if the government regulators approve the plan, it should go ahead without delay.

Fenwick believes fracking is well regulated in Canada and has no fear of problems cropping up as they have in the United States. He said there has been some 150,000 to 180,000 wells drilled in Canada that have been hydraulically fractured with very few problems reported.



Organizations: Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Oil Petroleum Board.He

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Port au Port Peninsula, United States Canada

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Recent comments

  • Jeremiah
    April 25, 2013 - 20:23

    Fenwick still around? Some people just don't know when to go away? Nothing more has been than...

  • End of the Cape
    February 13, 2013 - 22:22

    ""the Peet""sure it will be good for the inn @ the cape (((people get this mixed up with ""end of the cape""))) & the well on garden hill didn't "frack" as far as I know....................think of the young people and their health years down the road.................for you it don't mater, make money now is your main concern............@ your age you will be very lucky to see another 13 years. "the peet" do some research, are you willing to sell out our health?? and poison our water? and all the other bad things that come with "Fracking".

    • John Gibson
      February 18, 2013 - 11:37

      I would like to remind people that Peter Fenwick also claimed that turning Star Lake into a hydroelectric reservoir would not damage the fish stocks there. As a number of us (environmentalists, that Fenwick despises) predicted, the trophy brook trout have now gone, and the dwarf arctic char on which the trophy trout fed, are now extinct.

  • Ed. Anstey
    February 13, 2013 - 15:30

    i don't know enough about fracking to support it or not but i will not be swayed by mr fenwick because he has proven that he embraces anything that is profitable to him such as running for the NDP and when he thought it was more profitable run for harpers reform party.

  • Lonewolf
    February 13, 2013 - 15:08

    I have been fracking for years in BC and Alberta and nothing has happened that would deem this dangerous or bad for the environment. You people have to go to work out of NL to see the truth, being able to light water on fire as it comes out of the tap, what kind of an idiot would believe that nonsense. These environmentalist have to come up with this nonsense so they can keep there jobs and not have to work for a living.

  • J Russell
    February 13, 2013 - 14:35

    Wow, it's not like there are so many jobs available there, that you can afford to piss off the Oil Industry. All developement comes with a cost, and if you are not willing to pay it, you can never expect things to change.

  • carogers
    February 13, 2013 - 11:33

    I am against fracking. To inform yourselves better pls read The Chronicle Herald Magazine Page 10 Issue 1 Vol 2 January 27, 2012 published in Nova Scotia. Also if you do simple google search the following can be found One small town in Pennsylvania called Dimock has been devastated by Fracking. Cabot oil and Gas drilled dozens of wells that had problems with cement casing on so of those wells caused contamination of local water wells, driving down property values and causing sickness. In some cases, levels of methane in some Dimock water wells are so high that residents are able to set water aflame as it comes out of their taps. In 2010 the state environment fined Cabot $240,000 and to shut down the project in the area of 14 homes within 30 days. After an investigation by the Land Trust Association found the state identified 1, 435 violations. The technology is banned in France, Ohio and Vermont and is under review in Nova Scotia, Quebec, P.E.I. and New York, according to Payne. :

  • Mosey's Uncle
    February 13, 2013 - 11:31

    I am all for the oil exploration and development, as long as all the safety checks and balances are done. BUT, this is what I fear. They WILL find oil, it WILL be extracted, it WILL be trucked away, and they WILL make billions. Then they will leave, there will be a mess.....What about the people in the area? What do they get? Maybe a security job or two? The might hire an old feller to clean up or something. These oil people are so invisible to me. Where are they? Do they have a local office? Has anyone seen an actual person? Where are they staying? Just asking questions....can someone enlighten me?

  • Bob
    February 13, 2013 - 10:03

    Comparing the existing wells and fracking shale are comparing apples and turnips. So Fenwick's argument is purely economic, environment be damned. But, even his economic argument doesn't hold water (pardon the pun) . He says we must develop the shale oil now to secure markets before the US becomes energy self-sufficient in 2020. Is the thinking that once we are in they will forgo their self-sufficiency and continue using this foreign source? Or is the thinking that we could make some fast money now before 2020? Fracking for shale gas is relatively new, the majority of the 150-180,000 wells referenced are not of the type being considered here. The fact is that fracking does have negative effects; it has caused methane in drinking water to increase up to 17 times the normal level; chemicals found in hydraulic fracturing fluids has been found in ground water in monitoring wells; it does require the injection of a mix of chemicals in to the ground that has been shown by the US EPA to cause cancer, organ damage and neurological and reproductive problems. Shouldn’t that alone be enough to warrant a further look before we bet the farm, farmer, and family on this?

    • Pop Bottles
      February 14, 2013 - 11:07

      Bob and Mosey's Uncle, you are so right. fenwick is selling out the environment , so make money at his B&B, and he never did care about the other business in our so called town. To hid this,him and his pupets who run this place are having us pick up cans and bottles,and other things to make it look like they care,while in the mean time it seens like p f , B C, and T Y sell out on fracking, for personal gain.

  • Tony Young
    February 13, 2013 - 09:37

    I am glad to hear something positive and Mr. Fenwick has a point if there is a ban on Fracking it will mean this oil never gets touched. I say let the government conduct the study and allow deveopment as long as it is safe. I am aware that fracking is used here in Manitoba south west of Brandon, and never hear of any problems what so ever. Keeping in mind the videos we see on utube show those with problems. South Western Manitoba currently has around 1300 wells in operation. It would be great to see development in the Port au Port region, and I am sure everyone including Mr. Fenwick would want to see it performed in a safe way to the environment. I like his positive points and have concerns like anyone else.

    February 13, 2013 - 08:34

    It would be heartwarming to know that we'd have a future where there were no negative effects from the oil industry. Which is why, I think, we live in a changing world where checks and balances keep industry in line, hopefully preventing disaster of any nature. Now, our NL government has to do its work, so that all of their people can be giving government's view on this matter. Mr. Fenwick, if tourism has been good for you and other businesses for so many years, what's the rush now in pushing this type of mining through. Sorry I don't buy the line about why 'our' oil has to be developed right now. Oil will always be needed by the world, whether it's today or tomorrow. Port au Port isn't going anywhere soon and people will still visit the area. Let the NL government, not oil/petroleum boards, do their work and if it takes years then so be it. Better be safe than sorry later, sir!

  • owen roberts
    February 13, 2013 - 08:14