In an apparent about face, the U.S.-based oil and gas company,
Southwestern Energy Resources Canada (â€śSWNâ€ť) has suspended its seismic testing operations in New Brunswick,
announcing it will return in 2015. The company issued its brief public statement late Friday
afternoon, 6 December.
Previously, the companyâ€™s stated intention was to finish the
exploration phase of its contract with the provincial government, despite ongoing
opposition by Miâ€™kmaq, Acadian, and Anglophone protectors of the land. CPT can confirm that SWN did not finish
testing nor gather all necessary data regarding gas deposits in Kent County.
Protectors had maintained an encampment close to Highway 11 in Kent
County and were not deterred by consistent heavy RCMP presence accompanying SWN
nor the multiple arrests of protestors made in the last month. (CPT partner and Elsipogtog resident
Lorraine Clair was one of those arrested.
After a judge refused to extend the gas companyâ€™s initial
injunction against protectors on 21 October, SWN filed another injunction on 22
November, which a second judge did grant. Similar in content to the first injunction, it prohibited
protectors from coming within a certain distance of SWN equipment, and/or
impeding SWNâ€™s work.
New Brunswick also officially joined the injunction in support of SWN. New Brunswick Premier David Alward has
called the protectorsâ€™ opposition a â€śbeachheadâ€ť and refuses to engage in dialogue
with those who oppose shale gas exploration.