The Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis, a community organization, formed to seek justice and compensation for the damage caused by the potash mine. Today, the group is taking on the impacts of both potash mining and natural gas exploration and fracking in our rural community. We are a group of over 60 members. We have a steering committee that meets regularly.
The Potash Corp mine is extracting millions of litres of water a day from underneath our homes. After a number of residents lost their wells in 2004, we immediately linked it to the increased water inflow into the potash mine, and the seismic testing that was shaking their homes. In 2006, when new monuments went in around our community to measure the subsidence and horizontal displacement, we began to link the damage to our septic fields and then to our homes to the ground movements.
The Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis group has been busy: acquiring evidence and information about the impacts of mining on our wells, water and properties, doing media and public outreach, meeting with government officials, providing tours of the affected areas with the Ministers of the Environment and Natural Resources, taking our water woes to the Energy and Utilities Board and now we are requesting compensation via the Mining Commissioner.
The Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis have been fighting legal battles since 2004. One battle concerned the right to control our water. We lost that battle and our water is now being trucked to a neighbouring community. We then took our case before the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board, which ruled it had no jurisdiction to hear our complaints, which at the time was focused on bringing public attention to the issue of who has jurisdiction over New Brunswick’s water supply, which is still unknown since the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board ruled that they could not hear our case because it was outside their jurisdiction.
Our activities have been funded by members of our community. The group has organized a number of grassroots fundraisers including church suppers, kitchen parties, yard sales and bottle drives.
In our most recent case to the Mining Commissioner, the group is demanding compensation for the compromised wells and damaged properties. As more water is taken for the mine, subsidence is expected to increase decades after they have stopped taking the water. The hearings will begin on March 14, 2011 and are expected to last over a period of weeks.
As the province of New Brunswick faces more mining, oil and gas exploration, the Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis have said that we do not want to see what happened to the Penobsquis residents happen anywhere else. We feel that mining interests should not be allowed to come to a community and create irreversible damage, and have residents bear the cost of that damage. We continue to stand our ground and fight for our community’s well-being.