Alward government bungles first test of so-called world class shale gas regulations

FREDERICTON-- “Premier Alward’s world-class regulations on shale gas mining have failed their first major test,” says Dr. Jean Louis Deveau, chair of the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

On February 7th, Corridor Resources registered with the government’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) registry a proposal to propane frack four exisiting wells in Penobsquis sometime in July. This is Phase III of a three-phase project. Corridor’s short announcement was published in one small newspaper on February 11, but apparently nowhere else. The word fracking did not appear in the newspaper ad.

Before 2010, shale gas companies were not required to register for an EIA until ready to drill and frack wells. “But public pressure forced the Alward government to change that, so they created a new category of EIA called a ‘phased EIA,’ which now requires companies to register each phase of a project for an EIA.”

“The problem is this ‘phased EIA’ process is not designed to require a company to submit a formal environmental impact assessment which would trigger public hearings on their proposal,” says Deveau.

Deveau points out that until February 21st, there was nothing in the government’s EIA registry to suggest that fracking would be taking place. Nor was Corridor's proposal initially available on-line. “We live in the information age,” says Stanley resident Lawrence Wuest, “but I had to physically drive to the Department of Environment to read about the details of Corridor's proposal.”

In addition, according to a floodplain map of New Brunswick, two of the wellpads scheduled for fracking by Corridor lie on the 20 year floodplain of the Kennebecasis River. Corridor’s EIA registration document, now available on its own website does not appear to take this into consideration. This is problematic as the new rules for industry released in February 2013 place restrictions on shale gas mining in floodplains.

Energy Minister Craig Leonard even said last September that shale gas mining in flood zone areas would have to go “through a full EIA." The phased EIA now underway will likely allow Corridor to frack without any of us ever knowing how the public and the waters of the Kennebecasis River are to be safeguarded in the event of flooding," said Deveau.

“This is a far cry from what New Brunswickers should be expecting from so called ‘world-class’ shale gas regulations,” says Deveau. “I encourage New Brunswickers to demand that a comprehensive environmental impact assessment be conducted on this fracking project.”

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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.
Le gouvernement Alward gâche le premier test des soi--disant Règlements de calibre mondial sur le gaz de schiste