Cassie Piccolo Submission to New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing Oct 2015

Submission to New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing

Cassie Piccolo, Activist

October 2015

I took part in the Rexton, New Brunswick peaceful protests in the Fall and Winter of 2013.

With a background in biology, the dangerous effects of hydraulic fracturing were an obvious concern with numerous evidential repercussions such as chemically poisoned drinking water and seriously burdened soil. Connecting the practice of fracking to sensitive environmental systems painted a picture of irreversible damage and toxification that I could not ignore.

Residing in Halifax during the time when the protests began, and with the awareness that in Nova Scotia fracking had become illegal due to the risks involved, it was apparent to me that New Brunswick, too, had the potential to ban the threatening processes. In addition, news of the events that occurred on October 17th, 2013 were so appalling and dehumanizing that I immediately felt her personal inclusion was the least that I could contribute to the cause.

cassie p and sydney

The strength and conviction of the protesters that I had heard about was so inspiring that cause to join was overwhelming. I had been informed of peaceful protesters being condemned as criminals and citizens of the province being attacked and harassed by police and SWN workers despite their innocent concerns for their homes being their driving factor. An invitation from a close friend who was already present at the site of protest was enough persuasion for me to pause my urban lifestyle and help defend the locals in trying to protect their town.

During the months that I was involved, I was the victim of a hit-and-run by a SWN contractor and refused assistance by the police. The incident was never apologized for. Instead, I was arrested on the charges of admitting that I was present during the peaceful protesting while opposing the fracking being attempted– eventually all charges against me were subsequently dropped. No sympathy for my case or that of the other women involved was displayed by either the SWN worker or any of the police that were witnesses the day of the incident.

Familiar with the urgency of a global banning on fracking after SWN returned home from their attempt to pollute New Brunswick, I have been involved in several public events and fundraising efforts to raise awareness, including working alongside the Sierra Club of Canada, speaking at anti-fracking events and being present at the 2014 Atlantic Power Shift and other pro-environmental gatherings.

As of late, I have worked for a local organic food market (Home Grown Organic Foods, Halifax NS), worked as a sustainable landscaper concerned involving the reintroduction of native plant species, edible gardens and shoreline restoration projects (Helping Nature Heal, Bridgewater NS), practise organic gardening, permaculture and wild foraging skills, and writes, photograph and produce art which promotes the protection of the natural world.

I am in strong support of First Nations rights and worldwide unity between nations and peoples, respect and dignity for all animals and the right for all living creatures to have access to clean drinking water, clean air and a peaceful condition in which to live. I continue to study the science of plants and fungi, and work diligently to inform others about environmental and social issues. I am an advocate for organic living, minimizing waste and reducing all emissions on a global scale.

I am proudly part of the Peoples Lawsuit as I stands in support of all other Plaintiffs involved and the right that every person should willingly have to defend causes that they believe in so long as they perform such duties in a peaceful, respectful manner. It is imperative to me that large corporations never receive more rights than the citizens themselves benefit from. Companies such as SWN should never attempt to bully concerned people who are being lawful while receiving no repercussions for their inhumane actions. The act of consciously doing extreme harm to the environment while concealing information related to such procedures must be terminated in order to conserve a healthy planet for our present and future generations.

Cassie Piccolo

Halifax, Canada