On August 28, 2013, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Energy signed an agreement with the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment at Cape Breton University to conduct an external review on the environmental, socio-economic, and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Simultaneously, Dr. David Wheeler, President and Vice Chancellor of Cape Breton University, was asked to convene and Chair the review and expert panel on a voluntary and unpaid basis.1 The mandate for the review was to: create a panel of technical experts based on input from the public and hire technical consultant(s) to facilitate the work of the panel; hire a part-time project administrator; conduct public consultations on the process of hydraulic fracturing with online tools and face-to-face meetings with stakeholders; and conduct a literature review on the health and socio-economic impacts of hydraulic fracturing. These activities would result in a final report to the Government of Nova Scotia with recommendations on the potential of hydraulic fracturing to develop unconventional gas and oil resources in the Province. The scope of work included, but was not limited to, the following areas of research: effects on groundwater - including both water quality and quantity issues; effects on surface water; impacts on land; management of additives to hydraulic fracturing fluids; waste management; site restoration; requirements for hydraulic fracturing design including chemicals used; and the engineered design and financial security considerations that operators are required prior to conducting activity in the Province. The intended outcome for the project was for the Province of Nova Scotia to be able to make an informed decision on the future of hydraulic fracturing activity in Nova Scotia, based on input from technical experts and the public on environmental, health, and socio-economic impacts. The original end date for the review was June 30, 2014, but the deadline was extended until August 31, 2014.
Report of the Nova Scotia Independent Panel on Hydraulic Fracturing (Sydney, Nova Scotia: Cape Breton University, 2014) (Chair: David Wheeler).