That said, the Texas-based company has also submitted requests for environmental assessments for four test wells that it has publicly said it intends to drill – not hydraulically fracture, mind you – in 2015.
The requests for assessments currently on the provincial desk are the proverbial death by a thousand cuts in that they only address specific steps in the drilling process. By itself, the construction of a well pad may not trigger an environmental assessment, nor would the construction of one test well. But pad by pad, well by well, the cumulative effects mount, building momentum without governmental address as was the case with the Alberta tarsands. Until drilling actually begins – if indeed it does – the provincial and corporate strategy will likely manifest itself as continued “relationship building” with First Nations groups. The Maritimes is unceded territory, and title remains in the hands of the original confederacy of First Nations groups who have inhabited the area since time immemorial.