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  • Discussion Paper: Potential Socioeconomic Effects of Unconventional Oil and Gas

    Development in Nova Scotia Communities Nova Scotia Hydraulic Fracturing Independent Review and Public Engagement Process

    Lead Author: Dr. Shawn Dalton

    Expert Panellists: Dr. Frank Atherton, Dr. Michael Bradfield, Kevin Christmas, Dr. Maurice Dusseault, Dr. Graham Gagnon, Dr. Brad Hayes, Constance MacIntosh, Dr. Ian Mauro, & Ray Ritcey

    Supporting Contributors: Margo MacGregor & Dr. David Wheeler

    Fracking has created less harm than the most vociferous critics claim, and more damage than the energy industry contends.

    And it may be years before the full consequences of the drilling and fracking are clear (Zuckerman, 2013).

    Abstract

    Community impacts of energy development may be both positive and negative, and are described in

    four key areas: the local economy, social and physical infrastructure, the natural environment, and

    social relations within communities. The energy boomtown literature of the 1970s and 1980s focused on

    the negative impacts of the boom-bust-recovery cycle. Subsequent research has shown positive impacts

    in most categories.

    This paper summarizes potential community effects of unconventional oil and gas development through

    hydraulic fracturing, and offers means by which monitoring and evaluation of effects can lead to

    adaptive management and improved control of outcomes within communities.

  • 2

    Discussion Paper: Potential Socioeconomic Effects of Unconventional

    Oil and Gas Development in Nova Scotia Communities

    How to Read this Paper This discussion paper will in due course form the basis of a chapter in the full report produced for the

    Hydraulic Fracturing Independent Review and Public Engagement Process in Nova Scotia.1 The paper

    should be read in conjunction with the Primer on Hydraulic Fracturing2 which we released on March 10th

    2014. This paper explores the potential socioeconomic effects of unconventional oil and gas

    development in Nova Scotia communities. To see a full list of other topics being considered in other

    chapters of the final report, and to view the tentative release schedule for discussion papers, please visit

    the project documents page on our website.

    How to Provide Feedback on this Paper We now invite feedback on this discussion paper for example if there are any aspects that are not

    clear or which require further explanation. Please email your feedback to hfreview@cbu.ca with

    Community in the subject line using the feedback form available on the website3. We request that you

    do not make comments directly in the PDF document and prefer to receive feedback using the form

    provided, in an email or word attachment, or alternatively please write to HF Review, Verschuren Centre

    for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, Cape Breton University, P.O. Box 5300, 1250 Grand

    Lake Road, Sydney, Nova Scotia, B1P 6L2. The deadline to submit feedback on this discussion paper is

    July 14th, 2014. All feedback received will be taken into account in the final version of the document.

    Thank you

    Dr David Wheeler President of Cape Breton University, on Behalf of the Expert Panel, June 26th 2014

    1 See the Verschuren Centre (Cape Breton University) website http://www.cbu.ca/hfstudy for full details of the

    study and all project documentation. 2 Available from http://www.cbu.ca/hfstudy

    3 The discussion paper feedback form is available here: http://www.cbu.ca/hfstudy/resources/project-documents

    http://www.cbu.ca/sites/cbu.ca/files/docs/hfstudy/Primer%20on%20Hydraulic%20Fracturing%20Process%2010th%20March%202014%20-%20For%20Public%20Consultation.pdfhttp://www.cbu.ca/hfstudy/resources/project-documentsmailto:hfreview@cbu.cahttp://www.cbu.ca/sites/cbu.ca/files/docs/hfstudy/Discussion%20Paper%20Feedback%20Form.dochttp://www.cbu.ca/hfstudy

  • Hydraulic Fracturing Independent Review and Public Engagement Process in Nova Scotia i

    Contents

    List of Figures ................................................................................................................................................ ii

    List of Tables ................................................................................................................................................ iii

    1. Introduction .......................................................................................................................................... 1

    2. Socioeconomic Effects of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development at Various Scales ..................... 5

    3. The Local Economy ............................................................................................................................... 8

    3.1. Social and physical infrastructure ............................................................................................... 10

    3.2. The natural environment ............................................................................................................ 11

    3.3. Social relations within communities ........................................................................................... 13

    3.4. Opposition ................................................................................................................................... 13

    3.5. Summary ..................................................................................................................................... 15

    4. Knowledge Gaps.................................................................................................................................. 16

    5. Nova Scotia Context ............................................................................................................................ 18

    5.1. Public Submissions to the Nova Scotia Hydraulic Fracturing Expert Review Panel .................... 18

    5.2. Monitoring, Measuring, and Mapping the Community Effects of Onshore Unconventional Oil

    and Gas Development in Nova Scotia ..................................................................................................... 18

    6. Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................... 22

    Appendix A: Example of indicators and measures for variables in the Human Ecosystem Framework, in

    this case for use in watershed planning and management ........................................................................ 23

    References .................................................................................................................................................. 27

  • ii

    List of Figures Figure 1: Conceptual model of place attachment ........................................................................................ 7

    Figure 2: Map of North American Shale Plays ............................................................................................. 8

    Figure 3: Summary of local environmental concerns with shale gas development in Canada .................. 11

    Figure 4: Map of Counties and Places in Nova Scotia ................................................................................. 19

    Figure 5: Human Ecosystem Framework .................................................................................................... 21

  • iii

    List of Tables Table 1: Positive (+) and negative (-) community effects of unconventional oil and gas and other energy

    development ............................................................................................................................................... 16

  • Discussion Paper: Potential Socioeconomic Effects of Unconventional Oil

    and Gas Development in Nova Scotia Communities

    1. Introduction Oil and gas extraction through the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, as

    a profitable industry, has emerged only in the past decade (Baechler, 2014; Prud'homme,

    2014). As such, it is far from a mature industry, and therefore the medium- and long-term

    effects it may have on communities (Atherton, 2014), ecosystems (Mauro, Forthcoming), and

    economies are unknown. As well, peer-reviewed research on the short-term effects of oil and

    gas development through hydraulic fracturing on communities is only just emerging in the

    literature. In this paper, I report on our understanding to date on the effects of unconventional

    oil and gas development on people and places, and suggest means by which we can

    systematically consider potential cascading effects over various spatial and temporal scales, and

    among different social groups, in the province of Nova Scotia.

    To say that hydraulic fracturing for unconventional oil and gas is a contentious issue, globally, is

    an understatement. The stakes are high at all levels of society, with the potential to completely

    alter existing international geopolitical power structures, as well as within and between

    countries, states, provinces, and communities. Nova Scotia currently faces fiscal and

    demographic challenges (Ivany, 2014), and is therefore subject to strong pressure to explore

    and, if viable, develop its unconventional gas resources.

    There is very strong community interest in and concern about this industry in Nova Scotia, with

    public opinion divided on whether the resource should be developed. An April 2

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