Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Natives Plan to Slow Highway Traffic to Protest Natural Gas Plan

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Natives Plan to Slow Highway Traffic to Protest Natural Gas Plan

Article excerpt

Native bands stage protest over gas storage

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STEWIACKE, N.S. - A group of Mi'kmaq protesters and their supporters are planning to slow down traffic on one of Nova Scotia's main highways this week in a bid to stop construction of a natural gas storage facility near Alton.

Group spokeswoman Cheryl Maloney says the protesters planned to light a ceremonial fire and set up a teepee Monday near Highway 102 north of Stewiacke, but the actual traffic slow-down won't happen until Wednesday morning.

Some of the 20 or so protesters at the site, about 60 kilometres north of Halifax, placed placards by the side of the highway on Monday. Highway 102 links Halifax with Truro, where Highway 104 extends to New Brunswick in the west and Cape Breton in the east.

The First Nation bands in nearby Millbrook and Indian Brook want the project stopped because they say there hasn't been enough consultation regarding the potential impact on the environment, Maloney said in an interview from the protest site.

"This has gone under the radar of local citizens who are now just saying, 'What is going on?' " she said.

"We need the province and the feds to take a good look at how this company got its environmental assessment and if they need to do another one. ...They also have to consider the impact on aboriginal title and the need for consent."

Alton Natural Gas Storage, a subsidiary of Calgary-based AltaGas (TSX:ALA), wants to store natural gas in three underground salt caverns that will be about 1,000 metres underground. Each of the caverns is expected to measure about 80 metres high by 50 metres wide.

To create the caverns, the company plans to drill into the salt formations and pump in water from the nearby Shubenacadie River to dissolve the salt. The leftover brine water will then be slowly pumped back into the river system. …

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