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

News from Groups Archives

Action Alerts

Resquest for letters of support: Proposed name restoration for the Wolastoq

Sunday, 30 April 2017
by Alma
 The Wolastoq Grand Council supports our YOUTH GROUPS on their proposal for changing the name of the Saint John River, back to it’s original and proper name; Wolastoq (the beautiful & bountiful river ). We see this as a good place to begin the process of implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; which was strongly recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  

Proposed Name Restoration: 
  • The name Saint John River back to it’s original indigenous name -  Wolastoq
Purpose: 
  • Wolastoq; (the beautiful river) is the original Indigenous name of the River.
  • Wolastoq is the name sake for the real identity and unique nationality of our People; the Wolastoqiyik.  Respecting the rights of Wolastoqiyik.
  • Scientific studies have now confirmed, what our people have always known; “that water has memory”.    This river will remember its original name.   
  • This deed would begin a process for reconciliation with a show of goodwill on the part of the Government of New Brunswick, and would;
  • Create opportunities for discussions and engagement around indigenous issues.
  • Wolastoqiyik have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 

The Wolastoq Grand Council is requesting support letters from our Allies; as individuals, organizations, and/or Groups.  For more information, contact Alma Brooks, 506-478-1256, almabrooks.26@outlook.com

Please send support letters to the following addresses:

The Wolastoq Grand Council,
Grand Chief; Ron Tremblay
50 Maliseet Drive
Fredericton, NB, E3A 2V9


David Coon
Office of the Green Party Leader
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1

Additional Information

  1. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; has assured the Wolastoq Grand Council in writing that; - “Canada is committed to a renewed nation to nation relationship with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.”   Carolyn Bennett also stated that ; - “Achieving full reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada is at the heart of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s mandate, and that the government of “Canada will engage with Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, and Canadians on how to implement the Declaration in accordance with Canada’s Constitution”.

  1. Andrea Bear-Nicholas
As described in a 2011 article by Andrea Bear-Nicholas, Maliseet historian:  
  1. The first step in the dispossession for the indigenous peoples in the Maritimes began in earnest immediately after the British capture of the French fort at Louisbourg in 1758.   Where place names and names of First Nations in the entire region had been inscribed on earlier maps; both would soon be erased by colonial cartographers in a process described by J. B. Harley as cartographic colonialism.  The justifications for these erasures was found in the doctrine of discovery.   
  2. The second step in the dispossession of indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia began immediately after signing of the Treaty of 1760 by Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Leaders, and later the signing of the Mascarene Treaty.   Although there was no surrender of any lands in either of these Treaties; 1.5 million acres of Maliseet land which outlawed the surveying and expropriation of lands not yet ceded by the indigenous inhabitants or purchased by the Crown.    


  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:   Articles 1, 2, 6, & 13   support and provide a guide for the implementation leading to reconciliation.

As a distinct ‘people,’ we have a right to our accurate identity and nationality.
  • Indigenous Peoples have the right to the full enjoyment as a collective or as individuals of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights law. 
  • Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin and identity. 
  • Every indigenous individual has the right to their own nationality. 
  • Indigenous people have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons.  “States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected”.

ACTION ALERT: Reinstate funding to the Canadian Environmental Network

Friday, 03 February 2017
by Raissa Marks
The Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks need your help!

Historically, the Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks including the NBEN received annual core funding from the Government of Canada. This was used to facilitate networking on environmental issues across the country, coordinate national and provincial issue-based caucuses, coordinate ENGO participation in federal public consultation processes, and maintain open lines of communication between ENGOs and the federal government.

In 2011, as part of the across-the-board cuts to civil society organizations by the previous federal government, all federal funding to the RCEN and its provincial affiliate networks was cut. This left the national network and most of the affiliates with functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work.

There is hope that the current government will provide for renewed funding in its upcoming budget. This funding is crucial for the survival of the national network and many of the provincial affiliate networks. A proposal has been submitted. It now needs strong and immediate support from environmental groups and individuals across the country.

This is where you come in!

Please take a few minutes to write to Prime Minister Trudeau and your MP telling them why you value the RCEN, your provincial affiliate network, or environmental networking at the national level in general. Feel free to use the template letter provided below. You can personalize it based on your experience or simply copy and paste.

Trudeau’s email is justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca and you can find your MP’s email here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members

Let’s show our federal politicians that a strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada!

Draft Template Letter:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I am writing to ask that annual core funding to the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) be reinstated.

Historically, the RCEN provided a crucial link between environmental groups across the country, both large and small. This link was vital in helping communities address environmental issues right across the country and ensuring a robust approach to the development of environmental policy in Canada.

Since funding was cut in 2011, the RCEN and most of its provincial affiliate networks have been functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work. This is not acceptable. A strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada. I urge you to reinstate core funding for this crucial work immediately.

Sincerely,