Council of Canadians (CoC), Fredericton Chapter
Fredericton, NB September 15, 2014
Public health axed—Alward giving New Brunswickers a false sense of security
The three New Brunswick chapters of the Council of Canadians—Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint-John—are accusing Premier Alward of luring New Brunswickers into a false sense of security. In last Tuesday night’s televised debate with the other party leaders, Mr. Alward said that his government had taken the opportunity to develop “the strongest regulations in North America” to oversee shale gas development.
“We agree with Premier Alward’s statement on the need for tough regulations to protect public health from this industry. But what we are gravely concerned about is what he isn’t saying. Neither he nor anyone in his government have publicly explained why public health was removed from the 12 guiding principles used to develop those regulations,” argues Jean Louis Deveau, a social scientist, who recently completed an analysis of how these regulations were developed. “Using a recipe for developing shale gas regulations without public health as the key ingredient is like cooking a turkey dinner without the turkey,” adds Deveau.
In December 2011, 12 principles used to develop the regulations appeared in a government press release. They included a mix of things like “taking steps to prevent potential contaminants from escaping the well bore,” “addressing the need for sustainable water use,” and “protecting public health.”
Six months later, in May 2012, when a discussion paper containing the 116 recommendations for New Brunswick’s world-class regulations was released for public input, public health had been dropped from the mix. There was no mention of this to the public.
“The failure of this government to include public health as an essential ingredient in the development of these regulations is another indication of this government’s total orientation to meeting the needs of industry as opposed to the wellbeing of the citizens of this province,” adds Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, co-chair of the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians.
Media contacts: Jean Louis Deveau, (506) 459-2907 (h), (506) 238-5277 (c); Caroline Lubbe D’Arcy, (506) 454-5119; Angela Giles, (902) 422-7811