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More Protests, Arrests in New Brunswick

A fresh round of protests over shale development has erupted in New Brunswick, with police and demonstrators opposed to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) clashing at the site of a violent protest last month near the town of Rexton.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., (CBC) at least 23 vehicles of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were deployed along Highway 11 after more than 30 protesters assembled there during the morning hours. Reports from several media outlets said one protester was arrested on Tuesday.

RCMP officers were warning the protesters to keep at least 250 meters (820 feet) away from seismic trucks used by Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN), and at least 20 meters (66 feet) away from the side of roads where SWN was working. The distances are spelled out in an injunction the company was awarded Friday from Court of Queen's Bench Justice Judy Clendening.

The Canadian Press and the CBC reported that the RCMP arrested three protesters on Monday outside an industrial park in Moncton, NB, for violating the injunction. SWN is storing seismic equipment at the industrial park.

Last week, Clendening denied a request by the Elsipogtog First Nation for an injunction against SWN (see Shale Daily,Nov. 19).

An anti-shale protest near Rexton turned violent on Oct. 17 after authorities moved in to enforce a court order to clear demonstrators blocking a highway and SWN's access to a facility the company was using to store seismic equipment. At least 40 people were arrested and five police vehicles destroyed in the mayhem (see Shale Daily,Oct. 18).

SWN has licenses from the provincial government to perform seismic testing in New Brunswick, home to the prospective Frederick Brook Shale. The emerging play lies beneath the Hiram Brook tight gas sands in both the Sussex and Elgin sub-basins (see Shale Daily, Dec. 7, 2010).

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