Moncton, NB (17 Sept 2014)

New Brunswickers who are looking for the facts about shale gas are not getting them from the current political debate. They are often being deliberately misled or else are confused by politicians who don’t understand the issues, themselves. And they are definitely missing out on critical information.

First, the economics.

The numbers cited by our government appear to be picked from thin air, are baseless and are designed just for the election. Economists don’t see how they can work and the government will supply no supporting data.

We have all heard David Alward claim that, by drilling a modest 50 wells per year, the province will earn $200 million in annual royalties. He does not say how he arrived at this figure. His math even baffles our province’s top economists.

In British Columbia, they drilled thousands of wells to earn $200 million in royalties.

New Brunswick currently has about 50 producing gas and oil wells. The total royalties average roughly $1 million per year. One million is an awfully long way from $200 million. We earn more than a million from our gravel and sand industry.

New Brunswick’s university economists have analyzed the current royalty scheme. They say these are the lowest royalty rates in North America and that it is highly doubtful that New Brunswickers will gain any significant profits. They say it is an inefficient, overexploitation of our resource. The government has dropped their earlier plan to share royalties with those municipalities and landowners who would be bearing the risk of shale gas.

The PC party must also further justify their estimates on job creation per well.

In four years, the only data they quote to support their job claims comes from the partially government-funded and widely disputed Deloitte report, a small and questionable survey that predicted a best-case scenario of 21 jobs per well.

However, we have examined a number of detailed fiscal policy reports based on actual figures from places where shale gas is being produced. These show an average of 4 jobs per well, while being highly critical of predictive reports like the one from Deloitte.

In New Brunswick, with our roughly 50 producing wells, we have less than a dozen ongoing full-time jobs.

Our question is this: Why should we base our decision on estimates from a questionable survey, when there are real life examples and hard facts to draw upon?

Shale gas is not the only way to bring New Brunswickers home and create jobs.

Multiple reports actually show that the oil and gas sector produces far fewer jobs than any other energy-related industry. Retrofitting infrastructure for energy efficiency, alternative energy development and mass transit each create up to 8 times the number of jobs created by fossil fuels. These figures are based on real-life experience, not hopes.

A clean economy requires the same skills that our people out west already have, and it fosters industries that would create career opportunities, retain college graduates, employ both genders, and save the existing jobs in our tourism and agriculture sectors that are now being threatened by shale gas.

We also ask this: What is the long-term economic viability of this industry?

The industry is a typical boom-bust venture that leaves communities worse off than they were. Its long-term viability is unproven.

Recent figures from the Energy Information Agency (EIA), investment firms and financial analysts show that the industry is $100 billion dollars in debt. And 75% of its firms are rated as below investment grade (junk status). As a whole, the industry does not make any money from the sale of gas. It survives on borrowing, and selling assets.

It also seems some parties do not understand our Oil and Gas Act.

Hydrofracking is hydrofracking no matter whether you use propane or water, and it is the only way to get shale gas. The idea that one can keep exploring while not allowing hydrofracking is a contradiction in terms.

And to be clear, if an exploration company lives up to its requirements to invest a certain amount of money, it may automatically convert to production when it is ready. Thus, to put a moratorium on shale gas, you can not allow exploration to continue. You must stop both or you cannot stop either.

And as various parties talk about the necessity of having world class regulations, they ignore the recent report from the Council of Canadian Academies, which noted that there is so little research or monitoring of shale gas that no regulations anywhere can be said to be based on science. Regulations willnot protect us.

But, perhaps the largest piece of missing information and discussion concerns the effects of this industry on climate change. The day before our provincial elections there will be massive demonstrations around the world focused on climate change.

The world’s scientists, militaries, insurers, financial institutions, food and water specialists, and experts in many other fields tell us that climate change is the number one problem facing the world. It costs us billions of dollars and thousands of lives per year already, and those numbers will rise.

All public policies – local, regional, national and international - must now consider the effects of policy on climate change and the problems that will come from it. Investments in those industries are likely to be lost as the world reduces fossil fuel usage. Yet, remarkably, only one party mentions this ultimate threat and issue in their party platform.

Our concerns about unconventional oil and gas are not just the immediate threat to our health and environment caused by extraction methods, but also that we will be adding a new source of greenhouse gases to the fossil fuel mix that threatens us and future generations.

For the past 4 years, volunteers within the Anti-Shale Gas Alliance of New Brunswick have worked hard to get existing science to the people of New Brunswick in an understandable way. We have succeeded in bringing to light the costs and impacts of this industry and making shale gas a hot campaign issue in this election. All of our concerns have been validated by Canadian scientists, and yet, we see the same overinflated numbers and misleading information on economics and jobs being used to gather votes and sell this industry to the public. It is time to eliminate the spin and get honest about this issue.

The lawsuit that we have filed awaits whichever party wins the election. We are asking that a high standard be used to judge the scientific and health claims of the safety of this industry – “beyond a reasonable doubt” - the same standard for deciding guilt or innocence in court. High stakes demand a high standard.

So politicians take note. Deciding how to respond to this lawsuit will be one of your first tasks. Please take this seriously for all our sakes and start talking honestly about it now.

About NBASGA

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance represents the interests of New Brunswickers opposed to unconventional gas and oil exploration and development, while promoting a future in clean energy alternatives.

Website: www.noshalegasnb.ca

Email: shaleinfo.nb@gmail.com

Contact Information

Jim Emberger (English)

Tel: 506 440-4255       Email: jimemberger@yahoo.com

Denise Melanson (French)

Tel: 506-523-9467       Email: inrexton2013@yahoo.ca

Spotlight

Blog

New NBEN Logo!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017
by Raissa Marks
A new logo for the NBEN was launched at the Eco-Confluence gathering last weekend!
logo 1

The violet, as New Brunswick’s provincial flower, represents the province and its environment.  The centre is the network which brings us all together.

The logo was designed by Annika Chiasson, the NBEN’s Communications Coordinator and talented graphic designer.

Community Group Recognized for Environmental Work

Monday, 30 October 2017
by Raissa Marks
For Immediate Release
October 30, 2017

On Saturday, October 28, 2017, an environmental award was presented to New Brunswick citizens in honour of exemplary service to their community.

The Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association was honoured with the Phoenix Award “in recognition of their unfaltering and ultimately successful commitment to defending their community and home from the threat of heavy industrial development.” The Phoenix Award is dedicated annually to a group or individual who has dedicated their efforts to policies and legislation and have been through “the fire”.

The tank farm and marine export terminal for the Energy East pipeline were slated to be built in Red Head, in East Saint John. Concern over the environmental impact of this project to their home community and communities across the country and around the Bay of Fundy caused local residents to organize against the Energy East pipeline. Due to their efforts, alongside those of many along the entire route of the proposed pipeline, the Energy East proposal was withdrawn by TransCanada earlier this month.

Raissa Marks, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Environmental Network, praised the efforts of the Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association. “They impressed many in the environmental movement and beyond. They showed that dedicated, hard-working citizens can stand up to big industry, build broad alliances, and come out of a big challenge stronger and more united. Red Head residents were at ‘the end of the line’, and showed that, regardless of where you are located, standing up matters.”

The award was presented during the New Brunswick Environmental Network’s annual meeting, Eco-Confluence, which was held in Fredericton over the weekend. Each year, significant efforts by citizens and citizen groups toward the protection and restoration of New Brunswick’s environment are recognized at a special awards ceremony.

The New Brunswick Environmental Network is a non-profit communications network of over 100 citizens’ environmental groups from across the province. The goal of the Network is to encourage communication and collaboration among groups and between groups, government and other sectors.

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Award Presentation Gordon Lynaya for web
Gordon Dalzell, Citizens Coalition for Clean Air, presenting the 2017 Phoenix Award to Lynaya Astephen, Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association.  Photo Credit: Pascale Ouellette

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Tue, Nov 28th, 2017
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Action Alerts

Have your say on Draft Water Strategy!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017
by Conservation Council of New Brunswick
A Water Strategy for New Brunswick

On October 6, 2017, the department of Environment and Local Government released a draft water strategy for comments. The draft strategy is available on the government website. Comments can be submitted by email to: waterstrategy-strategiedeleau@gnb.ca or by mail to: Department of Environment and Local Government, Policy and Planning Division, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1. Comments will be accepted until November 20, 2017.

In order to help groups with their submissions, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, in cooperation with watershed groups, has put together key elements of a watershed strategy and a sample letter to send to the Department.

Summary​ ​of​ ​8​ ​Key​ ​Elements​ ​of​ ​a​ ​Strong​ ​Water​ ​Protection​ ​Strategy

New​ ​Brunswick​ ​deserves​ ​a​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy​ ​that:
    1. is​​ ​​science-based;​ ​(involving​ ​baseline​ ​data,​ ​tracking​ ​and​ ​taking​ ​into​ ​consideration cumulative​ ​impacts,​ ​environmental​ ​flows)
    2. sets​ ​water​ ​quality​ ​standards​ ​within​ ​a​ ​working,​ ​legal​ ​mechanism;
    3. conserves​ ​all​ ​water​ ​within​ ​​watersheds​ ​including​ ​surface​ ​waters​ ​(lakes,​ ​streams,​ ​rivers) and​ ​groundwater,​ ​by​ ​developing​ ​good​ ​conservation​ ​plans,​ ​policies​ ​and​ ​practices,​ ​and uses​ ​the​ ​precautionary​ ​principle​ ​as​ ​a​ ​guiding,​ ​legally​ ​enforceable​ ​tool;
    4. protects​ ​our​ ​marine​ ​coastal​ ​areas​ ​in​ ​law;
    5. has​ ​a​ ​meaningful​ ​form​ ​of​ ​​co-governance​ ​with​ ​First​ ​Nations;
    6. includes​ ​the​ ​development,​ ​implementation​ ​and​ ​enforcement​ ​of​ ​watershed​ ​protection plans,​ ​developed​ ​in​ ​a​ ​transparent​ ​manner,​ ​involving​ ​government,​ ​businesses,​ ​watershed organizations,​ ​farmers,​ ​municipal​ ​officials,​ ​and​ ​citizens;
    7. is​ ​accountable,​ ​which​ ​includes​ ​ongoing​ ​monitoring​ ​and​ ​annual​ ​reporting​ ​to​ ​the​ ​public​ ​on the​ ​progress​ ​of​ ​goals​ ​and​ ​objectives​ ​outlined​ ​in​ ​the​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy;​ ​and,
    8. is​​ ​enforceable​ ​through​ ​a​ ​modern​ ​legal​ ​framework
Sample Letter
 My name is ______, and I am writing to express my support for a strong Water Strategy in New Brunswick.

I live near ______ OR I live in ___________ watershed

Describe your favourite spot to fish/swim/paddle etc.

Share your favourite water memory.

Clean, healthy water is important to me because _____________.

Have you recently experienced a boil water order? Blue-green algae? Extreme weather? Describe what is of concern to you.

I applaud the provincial government for moving forward on its commitment to protecting our water; however I believe the draft strategy does not go far enough to ensure healthy water for my watershed.

We need a water protection strategy that (Insert one or multiple key elements).

I am afraid that if left unattended, my watershed will face ongoing and increasing treats from (pollution, wetland and coastal estuary loss, loss of adequate environmental flow to sustain aquatic life, and increasing climate change impacts such as floods, droughts, and high temperatures.)

Please protect my watershed by implementing a strong water protection strategy with modern legislation that (note key element(s)) to ensure the health of our water and people.

Thank you,
Your name.

For more information, visit the CCNB's website.

Call for nominations for the NBEN Awards - 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017
by Annika Chiasson
Every day people and environmental groups take action to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment.  

Over this past year, who stands out in your mind? 

We invite you to nominate a group or individual deserving of one of the NBEN awards which will be presented in style at Eco-Confluence 2017.  Send an e-mail to nben@nben.ca describing your nominee’s work.  Nominees must be members or associates of the NBEN*.

Nomination deadline is September 13, 2017.

*Current NBEN Steering Committee members are not eligible for awards.

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