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Shale Gas Fracking on Île Anticosti, Quebec, Canada

Quebec's bid for energy independence threatens island refuge with plans to test novel fracking technologies. Locals are calling the plans to frack: "the theft of the century."


The government of the province of Québec has approved the exploration of shale gas and oil exploration activities on the province’s largest island, l’île Anticosti. The island is a refuge for a diversity of offshore aquatic life as well endemic and endangered terrestrial flora and fauna (e.g. the Atlantic Salmon). Bison, caribou, Red Fox, River Otter, elk, mink, moose and other terrestrial mammals as well as grey seals and various species of whale live on or around Anticosti. The reefs off the island are among the most ecologically sensitive in the St. Lawrence seaway.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Shale Gas Fracking on Île Anticosti, Quebec, Canada
State or province:Québec
Location of conflict:Île Anticosti
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Shale gas fracking
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to reports (1), Petrolia plans to test a new fracking techology which entails injecting natural gas instead of water into the ground to push crude oil to the surface

Level of Investment for the conflictive project115,000,000 or more
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:250 (inhabitants of the island)
Start of the conflict:18/02/2014
Company names or state enterprises:Petrolia Incorporated from Canada
Corridor Resources from Canada
Maurel et Prom from France
Junex Incorporated from Canada
St-Aubin E&P from France
Relevant government actors:(Government related unions / parties) : Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN); Centrale des Syndicats du Québec (CSQ); Centrale des Syndicats Démocratiques (CSD); Québec Solidaire
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Non-governmental organisations : Équiterre; Greenpeace; l’Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique; David Suzuki Foundation; Nature Québec; AVAAZ
Other groups : Opponents of hydraulic fracking on the Gaspé peninsula and the Île-de-la-Madeleine, and members of First Nations groups; Idle-No-More movement
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Oil spills, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:An independent strategic environmental assessment is required. Ensuring the sustainable future of Anticosti Island, future generations of Québec and global welfare necessitates the provincial government declaring a moratorium of oil and gas exploration on Anticosti
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The provincial governement has yet to make a decision as to whether to authorise extraction activity; there was a changeover of government from the Parti Québecois (PQ) (who had supported exploration) to the Québec Liberal Party which has maintained the position to allow prospecting for oil and gas on the island.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Bill 37
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Council of Canadians - Fracking Across Canada
[click to view]

QC Shale Gas Debate
[click to view]

Une coalition veut un large debat public avant tout forage
[click to view]

Exploration petrolière au Québec
[click to view]

Shale Gas exploration-Anticosti
[click to view]

[click to view]

Main information source on the conflict
[click to view]

Anticosti Petroleum exploration (in French)
[click to view]

Le piège du pétrole québécois
[click to view]

Citizens consultation (in French)
[click to view]

Anticosti: un pari-risqué (en français)
[click to view]

At least 12,000 petroleum wells to be tapped on Anticosti (in French)
[click to view]

Energy dilemma encapsulated on tiny Quebec isle
[click to view]

Avaaz petition
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Vidéo: le film entier disponible sur Youtube / entire film on Youtube (in French)
[click to view]

Video documentary
[click to view]

Other documents

Area open for oil and gas exploration Source: Corridor Resources
[click to view]

Initial exploration on Anticosti Source: LeDevoir
[click to view]

Shipwreck on Anticosti Source:
[click to view]

Protest against shale gas exploration in Québec Source:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Vijay Kolinjivadi, McGill University, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1554
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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