“Strengthen, not weaken, the protection of our rivers, bays and drinking water”, says New Brunswick groups questioning the government’s Water Strategy

FREDERICTON, N.B. –  On World Water Day, March 22nd,  several citizen groups joined the Wolastoq Grand Council and held a Press Conference today in Fredericton to call on the Gallant government for the immediate halt to the hastily-planned review process for the New Brunswick’s new Water Strategy.  

“The process is a sham.”, says Mark D’Arcy, New Brunswick Energy East Campaigner for the Council of Canadians.  “The Gallant Government is proposing a new strategy to manage our drinking water and waterways with industry and to replace our current water classification regulation.  The process is not democratic.  The process would weaken, not strengthen, our protection of water.  And the process ignores the reality of climate change, that peoples’ lives and communities are at stake.” 

The process is not democratic. 

Brian Kenny, NB Minister of Environment and Local Government, released the Discussion Paper entitled ‘Working Together to Build a Water Strategy for New Brunswick” on March 6th.  Less than two weeks later, six Open Houses in rapid succession have been scheduled to gather people’s input with written feedback welcome until April 29th (see link below to government website).

“Why has there been limited advertising for these Open House consultations and why is the lead time for this input so rushed?,” asks Mark D’Arcy. “Why is the government conducting secret stakeholder meetings with watershed groups and municipalities that excludes the public? And why is there a third tier of secret stakeholder meetings only with industry. You can’t have a democracy with secret meetings. Is this to pave the way for large-scale projects such as Energy East, Sisson Brook, and shale gas fracking? Premier Brian Gallant needs to halt this process now and start an open and meaningful public process.” 

Ann Pohl, Chair of the Council of Canadians – Kent County Chapter says, “We endorse this call for an open, transparent, engaged and valid process to determine water protection policy and regulations.”

Sharlene Paul, Clanmother speaking on behalf of the Wolastoq Grand Council, says, “It is wrong of Premier Brian Gallant to release any Water Strategy without first initiating discussions with our people.  Our recent declarations here in our non-ceded Wolastoq Homeland – the ‘Water Declaration’ last May 2015 in Red Head, and our ‘Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth’ in February 2016 - are very clear about the importance of water:  The inherent right to water as a source of life.”

The process is going to weaken, not strengthen, our protection of water.

Lawrence Wuest, a retired scientist who lives in the Nashwaak River watershed, asked, “Why is the government disempowering and dismantling at least six (6) current volunteer watershed organizations along the Saint John River?  The new water strategy proposes to exclude from provincial legislation almost all the individual watersheds directly impacted by the Energy East Pipeline, the Sisson Tungsten Mine, the Minco PLC Woodstock Manganese Project, and shale gas development in the great swath of New Brunswick currently under gas and oil exploration license and lease."

Mr. Wuest emphasizes, "This would remove local community control, monitoring and advocacy in the Nashwaak Watershed, the Meduxnekeag Watershed, the Cannan River/Washademoak Lake Watershed, the Belleisle Bay Watershed, the Kennebecasis Watershed, the Hammond River Watershed, and all other existing sub-watersheds of the Saint John River.”

“Why won’t they implement the Watershed Classification System? “, asks Bill Ayer. “This is the same system successfully used by the State of Maine, which would allow NB and ME to easily exchange data on their shared Transboundary watersheds in the St. Croix and St. John River Basins.”

“We must listen to our Ombudsman,” says Margo Sheppard, member of Council of Canadians – Fredericton chapter. “Ombudsman Charles Murray ruled in 2014 that the province’s Water Classification Regulation was legal and that it was reckless not to put it into practice. Ombudsman Murray stressed that this Water Classification was made a strong legal tool by an amendment of the Clean Water Act on December 19, 2008.”

 “The language in the discussion paper with respect to the management and control of water by industry, including ‘water management partnerships’, is too vague and is also very troubling”, says Susan Linkletter, Vice President of the Organic Crop improvement Association, and former Executive Director of the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance, “The Water Strategy is proposing a triple bottom line, that is, of managing water for people, nature, and business.  Why, when we know the value of clean drinking water, is the Province laying a foundation that would allow for the bulk transport of water between watersheds in New Brunswick, as well as the export of water out of New Brunswick?”, says Jean Louis Deveau, Chair of the Council of Canadians – Fredericton chapter. 

The process ignores the reality of climate change.

“The new Water Strategy ignores the focus on water in the recent NB report of the Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing”, says Maggie Connell, past Co-chair Council of Canadians – Fredericton chapter.  “The Commissioner detailed steps to protect surface water and groundwater, including the “comprehensive mapping and monitoring of New Brunswick’s groundwater aquifers” and “to mitigate the impacts of climate change-related effects, such as extreme weather, on New Brunswick’s watersheds, coasts and land base”.

Our group has consistently warned Premier Gallant and his Ministers of the need to stop the unsustainable forest clear cutting and the destruction of our wetlands,” says Connell. “The environmental protection of our forests and watersheds must be an urgent priority in order to protect downstream communities.”

Marilyn Merritt-Gray a resident of Kars, one of the Belleisle Bay communities hardest hit by the Fall 2015 rain storm, says “We know all about bad roads down here, spring flooding and washouts, but the September storm was overwhelming. The government says they have already spent $15 million on bridge and road reconstruction, but even with that in our roads in places remain barely passable and other roads remain closed. For weeks the river in front of my house ran brown.”

Halt the current Water Strategy process and start over.  

“It’s important that we halt this current process and start over with a more evidence-based document and with an open and transparent process, a process which includes all Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in New Brunswick and the Chief Medical Officer of Health,” says Russ Letica, First Nation Consultation Coordinator from the Wolastoqiyik Nation.

The last planned meeting for ‘invitation-only stakeholders’ is in Fredericton on Wednesday, March 23rd from 2:00pm-4:00pm at the Fredericton Inn.  The Open House follows at 4:30pm-6:30pm, also at the Fredericton Inn.  We encourage the general public to attend these meetings, ask these important questions and your local concerns about the protection of our water, and ask the Gallant government to halt the current Water Strategy process.  The process should start only after Premier Gallant properly answers these questions.  


                                                       - 30 -

References: 



Managing Water Resources, 3pp - Released March 1, 2016

http://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/env/pdf/Water-Eau/ManagingWaterResources.pdf



Working Towards a Water Strategy for New Brunswick, 24pp – Released March 6, 2016

http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/elg/environment/content/water/content/water_strategy.html

News from Groups Archives

Action Alerts

Beth McLaughlin Environmental Journalism Award

Monday, 25 July 2016
by Teri McCready
Call for Nominations





Beth McLaughlin Environmental Journalism Award

Background:

This award for outstanding reporting will be presented annually, beginning in 2016, to recognize and promote in-depth and thoughtful coverage of environmental issues in New Brunswick.

By recognizing the best environmental reporting, this award seeks to inspire journalists in all media and to showcase reporting that best addresses important environmental issues in New Brunswick. We invite journalists from traditional news media, independents, and non-profits, citizen journalists and students to submit their finest work.

Beth McLaughlin, the founder of the Southeast Chapter of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, was a teacher, writer, social activist, and active citizen. The CCNB Southeast Chapter presents this award in her memory.

Criteria and eligibility:

Entries must be predominantly about an environmental subject occurring in or affecting New Brunswick, and must have been published, broadcast, or posted during the calendar year preceding the current prize year. Series that begin in one year and end in another are eligible but may be entered only once.

Stories, articles, documentaries, or series, in English or French, published in any publication, broadcast by any radio or television station, or posted online, including blogs and personal websites, as long as they are accessible to the general public, are eligible. (If access is contingent on subscription, registration, fees, or other limits, permission must be granted to CCNB SE to make the work available to the public.)

The CCNB Southeast Chapter Award Committee is the final authority for determining whether an entered story meets the eligibility criteria. Entries by current CCNB employees are not eligible.

A panel of judges made up of experienced journalists, educators or other qualified individuals appointed by the Award Committee will judge qualified entries and pick the winner. Judges may select no winner if they decide there are no deserving entries.







Entries which address the following issues are particularly encouraged:

  •   investigative reporting that uncovers an important environmental issue in New Brunswick or is

    about an important issue not covered elsewhere

  •   stories alerting readers/listeners to an important emerging issue in New Brunswick

  •   stories that help clarify complex environmental issues or events of significance in New

    Brunswick

  •   stories that uphold the journalistic principle of protecting the public interest

  •   stories that resulted in improvements or positive change in the community

    Judges may consider factors such as the quality of the writing, the difficulty of obtaining the information for the story, relevance and importance of the subject, and other factors.

    How to Apply:

    Nominations may be made by environmental groups, media organizations, teachers, or any other interested parties. Applicants may be self-nominating.

    Submission deadline:
    All entries must be received by
    July 31st, 2016. Submit entries to: Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Southeast Chapter Environmental Journalism Award Committee at ccnbsoutheast@gmail.com

    Information to include:
    1. Nominator’s name, email, and phone number.
    2. Journalist’s name, email, phone and/or other contact information.
    3. Provide links to broadcast and online entries (broadcasts must include a complete transcript). Print entries can be provided as a pdf or html attachment or via web links where the entry is published or posted and publicly accessible. All links must be to the same version of the entry as originally aired, published or posted, with all the same graphics, headlines, photos, etc. and not modified after the contest year.
    4. If the entry is not publicly accessible, permission must be obtained from the publisher for CCNB SE to link to it or repost it for public access.
    5. Background information on the piece for the judges may be added, but is not required.


    The award is worth $300.00 and two tickets to our annual fall event. The winner will be announced and the award presented in the fall 2016.


----------------------------------------------------
Appel à candidatures





Le prix de journalisme environnemental Beth McLaughlin





Ce prix soulignant un reportage remarquable sera attribué annuellement à compter de 2016 afin de souligner et promouvoir la couverture des problèmes environnementaux au NB. Nouveau-Brunswick.

En reconnaissant ce genre de reportage, le prix vise à inspirer les journalistes de tous les médias et à mettre en évidence les meilleurs reportages concernant les problèmes environnementaux au Nouveau- Brunswick. Nous invitons donc les journalistes des médias traditionnels et indépendants, les organisations à but- lucratif, ainsi que les étudiant(e)s et les citoyens journalistes à présenter leurs meilleurs reportages.

Beth McLaughlin, fondatrice du Chapitre sud-est du Conseil de conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick était enseignante, écrivaine, activiste sociale et citoyenne active. Le CCNB chapitre sud-est offre ce prix en sa mémoire.

Critères d’admissibilité :

Les candidatures doivent aborder un sujet environnemental existant ou qui affecte le Nouveau- Brunswick. Ils doivent avoir été publiés, diffusés ou affichés durant l’année civile précédant l’année du prix. Les séries qui commencent une année et se prolongent jusqu’à l’année suivante, sont éligibles mais ne peuvent être présentées qu’une seule fois.

Les histoires, articles, documentaires ou séries, en français ou en anglais, publiés en écrit ou diffusés à la radio ou à la télévision, ou transmis en ligne, incluant les blogues ou sites personnels en ligne, en autant qu’ils soient accessibles par le public en général, sont éligibles. Si l’accès est limité par souscription, par inscription, frais, ou autre restriction, le Chapitre sud-est du Conseil de conservation du Nouveau- Brunswick doit obtenir l’autorisation de rendre ces travaux accessibles au public.

La décision du Comité du chapitre sud-est du Conseil de conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick est finale à savoir si un projet respecte les critères d’admissibilité. Les employés actuels du Conseil de conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick ne sont pas admissibles.

Un panel de juges composé de journalistes expérimentés, d’éducatrices et éducateurs ou autres personnes qualifiées choisies par le Comité du prix Beth McLaughlin, évaluera les candidatures et choisira un lauréat. Les juges se réservent le droit de ne pas attribuer le prix s’ils estiment qu’aucune des candidatures ne leur semble valable.







Les sujets suivants sont particulièrement recherchés :

  •   Les reportages d’enquête révélant un important problème environnemental au Nouveau-Brunswick ou un problème important qui n’a reçu aucune couverture ailleurs.

  •   Histoires informant les lectrices et lecteurs, auditrices et auditeurs d’un problème émergeant au Nouveau-Brunswick.

  •   Histoires aidant à clarifier des problèmes environnementaux complexes ou des évènements importants au Nouveau-Brunswick.

  •   Histoires qui soutiennent le principe journalistique de protection des intérêts du public.

  •   Histoires qui ont apportées une amélioration ou des changements positifs auprès de la

    communauté.

    Les juges pourraient considérer la qualité de l’écriture, les difficultés à obtenir l’information, la pertinence et l’importance du sujet ainsi que d’autres aspects.

    Comment soumettre les candidatures :

    Les candidats peuvent être présentés par des groupes environnementalistes, des organismes médiatiques, des enseignants ou toute autre personne ou organisme. Les candidats peuvent aussi se présenter eux-mêmes. La date limite pour poser sa candidature est le 31 juillet 2016.

    Soumettre les candidatures au Comité du prix de journalisme environnemental du Chapitre sud-est du Conseil de conservation du Nouveau-Brunswick à l’adresse suivante : ccnbsoutheast@gmail.com

    Les dossiers de candidature doivent inclure :
    1 – Nom du présentateur, adresse courriel et numéro de téléphone.
    2 –Nom du candidat, son adresse courriel et son numéro de téléphone.


    3 –Le lien pour les soumissions télévisées et en ligne (les soumissions télévisées doivent inclure une transcription complète de l’émission). Les soumissions écrites peuvent être en format PDF ou html ou via le lien web où le texte a été publié ou affiché et est accessible au public. Tous les liens doivent être de la même version originellement émise, publiée ou affiché, avec les mêmes graphiques, titre, photos, etc., et ne pas être modifiés après l’année du concours.

    4 –Si le texte soumis n’est pas accessible au public, l’autorisation doit être donnée par l’éditeur au Conseil de conservation du sud-est du Nouveau-Brunswick pour établir un lien ou bien le publier en ligne pour le rendre accessible au public.

    5 –Des renseignements additionnels concernant la candidature peuvent être ajoutés mais ne sont pas nécessaires.

    Le nom du gagnant sera publié et le prix sera remis à l’automne 2016.
    Le montant du prix est de
    300.00 $ et deux billets pour l'événement d’automne. 







Would you consider having your group co-sign the letter below to the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet Chiefs

Tuesday, 14 June 2016
by Jean Louis Deveau
Please let Jean Louis Deveau (deveaujl@gmail.com) know  if your organization is willing to co-sign this letter.  


Dear Chief [_________________]:




We, the undersigned, are requesting that the Maliseet and Mi’kmaq chiefs not support a proposal to develop a snowmobile hub at Mount Carleton Provincial Park.  The snowmobile hub is a decoy for a much bigger issue which is that public officials appear not be adhering to Mount Carleton’s previously established and adopted zoning system and the 2014 Parks Act. In 1980, a zoning plan was developed for the park, defining what could and could not be done based on the level of protection needed for each of the five zones attributed to this park.  


The bridge refurbishment work and new snowmobile trail at Moose Brook and Bathurst Lake area are in zones defined as “recreation-utilization”, “historical”, and “natural environment”.  These zones have been designated as only being suitable for low-intensity activities like back-country camping and hiking, not snowmobiling. This is because the habitats in these zones are amongst the most ecologically sensitive areas in the park.  Areas deemed more resilient to snowmobile traffic were zoned either as development or access zones.


The 1980 Master Plan developed for the park, containing a description of the park’s five zones, provided strict guidance on where snowmobiles could go.  Considering that the geography of the park has not changed since the zoning plan for the park was first developed, that is, given that the wetlands, streams, and lakes have not been re-located so as to provide the needed justification for opening this area for snowmobile traffic, the recommendations outlined in that 1980 Master Plan have clearly not been adhered to by the Province. And since there currently is no mechanism in place to determine the feasibility of any proposed developmental project, like the snowmobile hub, the decision was, as in this case, arbitrarily made by the Minister, and in disregard of existing zoning plans for the park.


It is safe to argue that without the bridges, there cannot be a snowmobile hub at Mount Carleton and that conversely, without the snowmobile hub, the snowmobile association has no need for the bridges. So, in approving the bridge restoration work which is what you and the other Chiefs have allegedly done, you have, by default, also approved the snowmobile hub.  This is most disappointing.


Since the snowmobile hub is being proposed prior to an approved park management plan, that, too, appears to be in violation of the Parks Act.  In 2009, and despite public opposition, the same Government department involved in the snowmobile hub project approved the cutting of old growth cedars in a cedar grove for the installation of a zip-line at Mactaquac Provincial Park. Following that fiasco, and to prevent future destruction of wildlife habitat in provincial parks, the Friends of Mactaquac recommended the development and implementation of park management plans for all of our provincial parks.  That was seven years ago.   Yet, this Department has failed to become proactive in developing a management plan for any of its parks, including Mount Carleton.  During a recent meeting with the Province, on May 13, 2016, the Friends of Mount Carleton were advised that it would likely be 10 years before we see a management plan for any of our parks in New Brunswick.  Meanwhile, Nova Scotia has developed thirteen in the past eight years.

  
In closing, we would urge you to reconsider lending support to any aspect of this project and would recommend instead that you formally request that the Department develop a park management plan before this or any other tourism product may be vetted by the Chiefs and others stakeholders.  We believe this to be a better use of everyone’s time and effort.  That is, rather than being summoned to the “consultation” table every time someone comes up with a new tourism product for Mount Carleton, a park management plan based on an already established zoning plan and with input from all stakeholders, including Maliseet and Mi’kmaq chiefs, would provide the means with which to make sound decisions on what, where, when, and how things should be done to ensure a proper balance in meeting the four objectives of our parks: 1) conservation and preservation, 2) recreational and outdoor educational activities, 3) educational experience, and 4) quality vacation destination.




Sincerely,





Non-governmental organization A

Non-governmental organization B

Non-governmental organization C
Etc.



Please let Jean Louis Deveau (deveaujl@gmail.com) know by Friday, June 17th  if your organization is willing to co-sign this letter.