• (Posted on behalf of the Taymouth Community Association)

    A Response to the New Brunswick Government’s White Paper on Recommendations
    To Govern the Development of Shale Gas From The Taymouth Community Association
    (Page 1 of 11)

    Forward
    We wish to make it clear at the start that we do not believe any regulation or current technology can make shale gas and oil extraction safe enough to justify its presence in New Brunswick, or elsewhere. Public consultation on the issue of shale gas extraction is critical, as the risks to health and economic and political well being touch every New Brunswicker.
    "We ask you to recognize us as the serious
    and intelligent citizens we are"
    Rural New Brunswickers who are careful observers of their surroundings provide useful perspectives on environmental health.Our proximity to Fredericton’s universities, government offices and scientific businesses means that we count among our residents highly qualified researchers in all the areas relevant to the issue of shale gas, including geologists, ecologists, hydrologists and more. Many, of course, have labored for us in anonymity, because of their fear that their jobs or businesses may suffer retribution.
    Our views have sometimes been characterized as mere ‘emotional’ responses. It is not the word ‘emotional’ that offends us, since one would be a fool not to have an emotional response to threats to one’s health, family, and way of life. It is the ‘mere’ part that is troubling our multigenerational experience with local land and water issues and the countless hours spent researching this issue by those of us with academic training. We ask you to recognize us as the serious and intelligent citizens we are. [...]

     
  • 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.”
  • Pour publication immédiate              COMMUNIQUÉ                           21 novembre 2012

    Marche pour interdire la fracturation – Cessez de spéculer avec notre eau et notre air

    FREDERICTON NB ---- Une marche à Fredericton qui se terminera par un rassemblement à l’Assemblée législative aura lieu le mardi 27 novembre pour demander de mettre fin à l’exploitation non traditionnelle du gaz naturel au NB.

    Au mois de novembre l’an dernier, plus de 20 000 NéoBrunswickois ont demandé d’interdire l’exploration et l’exploitation des gaz de schiste en présentant des pétitions à la Législature.  Par ailleurs, durant l’année dernière plusieurs différentes associations au Nouveau-Brunswick ont adopté des résolutions pour soit interdire ou soit imposer un moratoire à l’exploitation non traditionnelle du gaz naturel.  Celles-ci incluent :

    1)   L’Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick regroupant 51 membres (octobre 2011);

    2)   Le Syndicat des infirmières et des infirmiers du Nouveau-Brunswick comprenant 6 900 membres (décembre 2011);

    3)   Le Syndicat national des agriculteurs NB regroupant 150 fermes (mars 2012);

    4)   Le synode des Maritimes de l’Église unie du Canada (mars 2012);

    5)   Le Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique regroupant 30 000 membres (avril 2012);

    6)   Le Collège des médecins de famille du Nouveau-Brunswick regroupant 700 membres (avril 2012);

    7)   Le personnel médical de l’hôpital Mémorial de Sackville (mai 2012);

    8)   Les médecins de l’Hôpital de Moncton (juin 2012);

    9)   La Fédération des NéoBrunswickois des zones rurales (FoR NB);

    10)   Les médecins de l’hôpital Georges Dumont Moncton (septembre 2012);

    11)  Un nombre de municipalités incluant (Moncton, Sackville, Memramcook, Minto, Stanley, Bathurst, Sussex Corner, Quispamsis).

    Marilyn Lerch de l’Alliance de Tantramar contre la fracturation hydraulique constate que : « Le gouvernement du NB n’a donné aucune indication qu’il écoutait tous ces appels pour un moratoire ou une interdiction. »  « Au contraire, la toute première proposition à la deuxième session de l’Assemblée législative a ignoré les pétitions et confirmé que la politique de l’administration conservatrice était en faveur de l’exploitation « responsable » des réserves de gaz naturel au Nouveau-Brunswick. »

    « Les réserves de gaz naturel au NB ne sont pas traditionnelles, c’est-à-dire qu’elles doivent être extraites par une technologie relativement nouvelle appelée fracturation hydraulique massive fracking, » explique Stephanie Merrill d’Action CCNB.  « La fracturation hydraulique est essentiellement un processus industriel contaminant qui injecte des milliards de milliards de litres d’eau mélangés avec des produits chimiques toxiques à des pressions énormes pour faire éclater la pierre et laisser échapper les hydrocarbonés des formations souterraines comme les schistes ou les grès rouges. »

    « Des preuves provenant d’autres juridictions ne cessent de démontrer que les risques sanitaires, sociaux et environnementaux sont majeurs et que les avantages économiques sont exagérés, » souligne Guillermo Castilla, professeur adjoint de l’Université de Calgary.  « C’est pourquoi notre gouvernement a le devoir de prévenir les dommages et mettre fin à toute exploitation jusqu’à ce l’on puisse démontrer que cette technologie est sécuritaire et qu’un plan d’exploitation complet est présenté. »

    « Le but de la marche et du rassemblement de mardi est de se rappeler à la mémoire les pétitions des 20 000 NéoBrunswickois qui ont été ignorées, mais qui demandent la cessation immédiate de l’exploration et de l’exploitation par méthode non traditionnelle du gaz naturel, » affirme Julia Linke du chapitre Fredericton du Conseil des Canadiens.  « Cela veut dire l’arrêt immédiat des explorations pour les gaz de schiste, la fin des émissions de tous nouveaux permis et du renouvèlement des permis existants, » précise Dr. Linke. 

    « Les groupes et les organisations qui se sont déjà joints à cette manifestation ou qui l’ont endossée constituent un véritable échantillon des populations rurales et urbaines du Nouveau-Brunswick, » observe Jim Emberger de l’Association communautaire de Taymouth.  « L’opposition à la fracturation ne peut que s’accroitre dans la province, parce que l’administration ne réussit pas à présenter une analyse de rentabilité pour appuyer ses prétentions concernant les emplois et les redevances tout en continuant à affaiblir la protection environnementale de nos zones humides, de nos bassins versants et de notre atmosphère pour faire place à cette industrie. »

    Conseillère municipale à Sackville, Margaret Tusz-King prévoit : « L’exploration non traditionnelle du gaz naturel va affecter l’ensemble du Nouveau-Brunswick, ses villes comme ses collectivités rurales »  « C’est pourquoi il est intéressant de noter le grand nombre de NéoBrunswickois qui manifestent leur solidarité en s’assemblant pour protester en solidarité lors de l’ouverture de l’Assemblée législative.  Ces citoyens montrent clairement qu’ils sont en faveur de l’arrêt d’une entreprise qui pourrait modifier notre paysage à jamais. »

    Le mardi 27 novembre, des groupes et des citoyens vont se rappeler le rassemblement de l’an dernier et démontrer leur solidarité avec les 20 000 personnes dont les signatures ont été ignorées, en participant à une marche à Fredericton pour interdire la fracturation.  Cette marche pacifique va commencer à 11 h au vieux cimetière et se terminera avec un rassemblement entre midi et 13 heures devant l’édifice de l’Assemblée nationale.  De brèves discours seront présentées.

    Voici les noms des groupes/organisations qui se sont joints à la manifestation et/ou qui l’ont endossée :

    A) Groupes des collectivités :  1) Citizens Coalition for Clean Air, 2) Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis, 3) Friends of Mount Carleton, 4) Hampton Water First, 5) Harvey Environmental Action Team; 6) Memramcook Action, 7) New Brunswickers Against Fracking, 8) Parents Against Everyday Poisons, 9) Taymouth Community Association, 10) Tantramar Alliance Against Hydrofracking, 11) Notre Environnement, Notre Choix, 12) Upriver Environment Watch, 13) Upper Miramichi Stewardship Alliance, 14) Darlings Island Fracking Intervention Naguwigewauk, 15) Friends of the UNB Woodlot, 16) Penniac Anti-Shale-Gas Organization, 17) Quality of Life Initiative, 18) Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance, 19) Stanley Area Action Group, 20) Sustainable Energy Group, 21) Maliseet Grand Council, 22) Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County, 23) Cornhill Area Residents Association and 24) The Federation of Rural New Brunswickers (ForNB)

    B) ONG: 1) CCNB Action, 2) Association pulmonaire du NB 3) ecoFredericton Sustainable Living Inc., 4) Conseil des Canadiens, chapitre de Saint-Jean, 5) Conseil des Canadiens, chapitre de Fredericton et Sierra Club Atlantic

    C) Organisations professionnelles/Syndicats : 1) Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (SCFP), 2) Syndicat national des fermiers NB (SNF NB), 3) Conseil du travail de Fredericton & District

    D) Partis politiques :  Parti vert et NPD

    E) Jeunes et jeunes adultes : 1) 5e année, classe du chef Harold Sappier École élémentaire Memorial, Première nation St. Mary’s, Fredericton 2) Étudiants et étudiantes de l’université Saint Thomas & de l’UNB, 3) Éco-action groupe de l’université Mount Allison 4) Élèves du Collège des métiers du NB.

    F) Groupes Facebook : “New Brunswick is NOT for sale”, “SAY NO TO SHALE GAS IN NEW BRUNSWICK”, “NoShaleGasNB”, “Upriver Environment Watch” et “Ban Hydraulic Fracturing (hydro-fracking) In New Brunswick

  •  For Immediate Release                PRESS RELEASE                November 4, 2013

    Communities, groups and organizations call on Alward Government to start listening to people

     

    FREDERICTON– This Tuesday, November 5th at lunch hour, the Council of Canadians will be joined by citizens, community groups, Church organizations, unions and professional associations from throughout the Maritimes and other regions at the provincial legislature for the Unity and Solidarity Rally. Rally goers will be delivering a message to Premier Alward that all shale gas exploration and development must be halted and that the New Brunswick government must begin listening to all people about the future they want, based on his government’s duty to consult and in the spirit of true democracy. 

     

     

    “The Alward Government must reopen dialogue and have a genuine conversation around issues surrounding our natural resources”, says Terry Wishart, a member of the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians. “Part of this discussion has to be about the unsustainable projects they continue to pursue while many countries and jurisdictions have firmly stated their opposition to extreme resource development like shale gas and oil. Others are realizing significant increases in jobs by laying the groundwork for the resource development of wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, biogas and their forests”, Wishart points out.

     

     

    One of David Alward's promises during the 2010 provincial election was citizen engagement, yet the Premier– who is also the Minister of Citizen Engagement and Aboriginal Affairs – has demonstrated his contempt for public consultation, consent, and aboriginal treaty rights. Premier Alward has refused to meet with the Wabanaki people in a traditional place of North American democracy, the Longhouse, which now rests on the banks of the Saint John River, across the street from the Provincial legislature, and was constructed for such a meeting.

     

     

    As Leader of the Opposition on April 6th 2010, David Alward spoke frankly about the consequences of shale gas development on water contamination, saying, "Many problems have been reported because of [fracking] companies. Significant contamination of people's drinking water is taking place. We know that, in the United States, companies are not required to provide the information.”  Government, health and academic studies document additional environmental hazards of the industry, like severe air contamination and impacts on human health, including accelerated rates of cancer and childhood asthma.

     

     

    “Today Premier Alward claims he was elected with a mandate to develop shale gas. His minister of energy, Craig Leonard, says that shale gas opponents are ‘ridiculous’ or he resorts to calling us names. They discount the real facts and ignore citizens who are petitioning for public meetings and asking some very important questions”, states Council of Canadians member, Dr. Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy.  “Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing were never mentioned in their platform. In fact they avoided any mention of it in the platform’s ‘Energy Plan’, yet renewable energy and efficiency are included”, adds Lubbe-D’Arcy.

     

     

    Critics charge that in the wake of Mr. Louis Lapierre’s fraud, the Alward government is also lying in order to justify moving ahead with their plans for a shale gas industry. They point out that the Alward government is following suit with the Harper Government by diluting or changing laws based on industry requirements, and are thwarting the efforts of citizen groups that work to shine a light on their failure to adequately consult with the public on shale gas.

     

     

    “We hope David Alward will respect democracy and renew constructive dialogue with the Wabanaki and all peoples on the direction and future of New Brunswick” says Wishart.

  • Economic fear mongering is alive and well

    The Daily Gleaner - Letters to the editor, 23 January 2013

     

     

    Re: Shale gas development

     

    Curiously, Minister of Health Ted Flemming, Dr. LaPierre, geologist Adrian Park and some letter-to–the-editor writers use identical language to claim that opponents of shale gas rely on inaccurate data from the film Gasland, and indulge in hysterical fear mongering.

     

    How dishonest, hypocritical and desperate! Unable to convince the public about the wonders of shale gas, they attempt to discredit the opposition.

     

    Gasland served as a wake-up call several years ago, but has been superseded by much history and science. I can’t remember any public forum in two years where it was cited as a reference.

     

    Shale opponents cite Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, international expert in rock fracturing, peer-reviewed scientific studies in prestigious journals, the US EPA, the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, government records of violations, and the industry’s own reports of failure.

     

    We cite the only long-term public health study by the University of Colorado, and The Endocrine Disruption Exchange on the toxicity of fracking chemicals. We point to the scholarly report done by New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Eilesh Cleary, which notes that we know almost nothing about shale’s public health threats.

     

    Recent peer-reviewed studies from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado are cited showing that shale worsens climate-change.

     

    Economists, financial analysts, science-based non-profit organizations, and the testimonies of people affected by shale gas from across North America are our sources. We’ve brought many expert speakers to the New Brunswick public.

     

    Where are the voices for the pro side? We hear only from gas-producing interests. Where are the independent studies proving that wells don’t leak, that water doesn’t get contaminated and air isn’t polluted, that there are no health problems, that methane isn’t leaking, that fracking chemicals aren’t toxic/carcinogenic, that roads aren’t destroyed, that quality of life doesn’t suffer, that shale gas’s boom and bust economic shell game doesn’t leave a place worse off? The silence is deafening.

     

    We offered to debate publicly, but government and industry were no-shows.

     

    The government merely repeats the totally false and unsupported idea that shale gas is our only economic hope. Talk about fear mongering propaganda.

    Jim Emberger
    Taymouth, N.B. 
  • First Response to NB Business Council Report on Shale Gas

    [In response to Shale Study Finds Opportunities for NB and report comissioned by the New Brunswick Business Council: nbbc-cenb.ca/en/blog/shale-study-finds-opportunities-for-nb]


    Fredericton NB - The communications committee for the alliance of community groups opposed to shale gas asked Jim Emberger for a first response to the NB Business Council Report on Shale Gas.

    Jim Emberger, a resident of Taymouth NB and a retired software developer says: “The most striking point is that this report proves that if you pay a consulting firm they will produce a positive report for you regardless of how weak and conditional the conclusions are. “

    "Below are my first comments to the questionnaire that was used, the supporting data they used, the conclusions that were drawn, and their review of current regulations and their lack of assessment of costs incurred by road damage” Mr. Emberger continues.

    On the questionnaire and subsequent conclusions:

    Right off the bat, there was a response rate on their questionnaire of 16% and they calculate the report has an 11% margin of error on those few points where the report can even make a comment, because of the small response rate. I’m not a pollster or statistician, but I wouldn’t want to bet the farm on that foundation.

    On the supporting data:

    The report uses some outdated data to support some of its statements. On the outlook of unproven technically recoverable gas, it cites a 2010 EIA report showing 1,931 trillion cubic feet in North America – the source of the famous 100 years of natural gas comment. However, the EIA recently revised that figure downward by 42% in the US, meaning at best a 24-year supply.

    I don’t have figures on Canada itself, but it is undoubtedly similar. The revisions mirror the actual production figures recently calculated for 65,000 shale wells by Canadian energy analyst David Hughes (Drill, Baby, Drill Can Unconventional Fuels Usher in a New Era of Energy Abundance – David Hughes, 2/13)

    The real life accounting of wells by David Hughes, (also Deborah Rogers and Art Berman and others) show that existing shale plays peak in about 4 years on average, with individual wells depleting by 79% to 95% in three years. Entire plays deplete at an annual average of 30% to 50%. So despite drilling thousands of new wells, terminal decline starts rather quickly and it is inconceivable that shale plays will last anywhere near the 6-25 years mentioned in the report. Remember that shale gas is barely a decade old, and that the figures used for longevity are based on conventional gas wells. Virtually all plays older than 5 years are in decline.

    The report also cites consulting firm IHS CERA for predictions about how much royalty money will flow by the year 2030. Unfortunately, IHS CERA has one of the worst records of long term predictions anywhere. It’s long term predictions for oil from their reports of the early 2000’s stated that oil production would soar to millions of more barrels a day, and that we would now be paying between $30 and $40 a barrel. Instead, the price has been $100 a barrel or more for many years, and supply has not increased since 2005.


    The use of GDP as a measure of benefits is flawed as things like road repair, environmental clean-up and legal action would all increase GDP, while actually illustrating negative consequences for NB citizens.


    The Conclusions:

    The figures for Full time equivalent jobs (FTE) per well based on a One Well model can be misinterpreted. One cannot simply take the figure of 21.5 FTE jobs per well and multiply it by the number of wells to get how many people will be employed. Most jobs are portable, meaning that a few drilling crews go from well to well, thus not increasing the number of employees, only the FTE statistics.

    Since they did not explain the one-well model in the paper, I may have misinterpreted it, but it is something that the press should question.

    The report also supports our contention that except for a few geologist type jobs, most jobs for NB’ers would be truck driving and security type jobs.

    The conclusions note that gas companies have many existing relationships with existing suppliers and trained employees. This confirms what we have been saying about the benefits to NB.


    Regulatory review:

    They compared NB to BC, Alberta, Colorado and Arkansas. First, BC and Alberta’s gas plays are in the boondocks generally – many miles from anywhere. Alberta, as noted by the report, is new to shale and is only now addressing new regulations for it. For example, they do not currently require testing of water wells for a frack.

    Arkansas, one of the first shale plays, has been playing catch-up, as production started with few regs. Correspondents from there have told us to stop shale before it starts, because regulations always lag damages.

    Colorado – the only long-term health study from the Univ. of Colorado showed the states regs to be inadequate to protecting public health. As extraction moves into populated areas, friction between local governments and state government is increasing.

    Geologically, none of these areas resemble NB. Pennsylvania is probably the closest analogue, but was not considered. The main point continues to be that all those areas continue to have widespread problems despite a variety of regs.

    Road repair paid for by companies?

    It is interesting to note that the report claims the cost estimate for road damage cannot be determined yet, but that the government regulations “contemplate” that companies will be responsible for these costs. We haven’t found any direct reference to this in the new government rules. Furthermore, shale oil and gas income from royalties have been shown in other jurisdictions to be way less than the costs incurred by accompanying road damage.

    For example, since 2009, Arkansas has taken in approximately $182M in royalties but estimates its road damage from drilling to be $450M. This is not surprising, as it takes over 1,000 loaded trucks to bring one gas well into production, plus 350 loaded trucks per year formaintenance, and another 1,000 loaded trucks for each additional frack.

    -30-
  • PRESS RELEASE
    For Immediate Release December 8, 2011
    N.B. Shale Gas Opposition Alliance Announces Text Message Action


    New Brunswick’s opposition to shale gas alliance consisting of twenty-eight community organizations is using social media to enable New Brunswickers to send a text message to our fifty-five MLAs denouncing shale gas mining and exploration in our province. Organizers say that with this Text Message Action Campaign, additional public scrutiny will be focused on the Alward Government’s push for oil and gas corporations to explore and extract shale gas using hydraulic fracturing.

    The texting initiative was planned and conceived in partnership with the Council of Canadians. With its ease of use and quick result, text messaging will allow New Brunswickers to express their opinion directly to our elected members from the comfort of their own homes.

    The letter contained in the text message sent to New Brunswick legislators includes arguments championed by economists, geologists, engineers and former industry insiders which contradict industry and government speaking points centred around job creation, royalty revenues and public benefits. They include the following:

    • The need for industry to import skilled workers from outside New Brunswick as has been happening in the US and western Canada

    • Inflated royalty payments which do not take into consideration increased health care costs due to the migration of carcinogenic materials into our air, water and the land on which we live

    • Reduced tax revenues from decreased property assessments and reductions in new home construction in areas ear-marked for shale gas development

    • Reduced tax revenues as a result of citizens and visitors to the province seeking to escape an ever-increasing level of industrialization and the resulting pollution

    • Increased road and bridge repair expenditures in counties where existing infrastructure was not engineered to withstand tens of thousands of truckloads of water, waste water, and methane gas


    The Text Message Action Campaign is scheduled to go on indefinitely. Organizers invite New Brunswickers to take this opportunity to make their voice heard, especially in light of the Alward Government’s decision to not engage in consultations with the public and its intention to continue on a path towards shale gas production.

    Media Contacts:

    Jean Louis Deveau
    506 442 1413
    jlpdev@nbnet.nb.ca

    Terry Wishart
    506 238 4001
    t.wishart@banfrackingnb.ca

    *********************

    COMMUNIQUÉ
    Pour publication immédiate 8 décembre 2011
    L’Alliance contre les gaz de schiste annonce une Action Texto


    L’Alliance contre les gaz de schiste du Nouveau-Brunswick est formée de vingt-huit organisations de collectivités qui utilisent les médias sociaux afin de permettre aux NéoBrunswickois de faire parvenir des textos à nos cinquante-cinq députés provinciaux pour dénoncer l’exploration et l’exploitation des gaz de schiste dans notre province. Les organisateurs sont d’avis qu’avec cette Campagne Action Texto, un examen public plus minutieux portera sur les tentatives de l’administration Alward d’accélérer l’exploration et l’exploitation des gaz de schiste par fracturation hydraulique de nos sous-sols par les sociétés à capital des pétrolières et des gazières.

    Cette initiative texto a été planifiée et conçue en collaboration avec le Conseil des Canadiens. Avec sa facilité et ses résultats rapides, les textos vont permettre aux Néobrunswickois d’exprimer directement du confort de leur maison aux députés qu’ils ont élus leur opinion sur les gaz de schiste.

    La lettre contenue avec le texto envoyé aux députés du Nouveau-Brunswick inclut les arguments avancés par les économistes, les géologues et d’anciens initiés de cette industrie qui contredisent les points de vue de l’industrie et du gouvernement qui se bornent à la création d’emploi, aux revenus des redevances et aux bénéfices pour la population. Ces arguments soulignent que :

    • L’industrie aura besoin de faire venir ses travailleurs spécialisés de l’extérieur du Nouveau-Brunswick tout comme c’est arrivé aux États-Unis et à l'ouest du Canada;

    • Les paiements de redevances gonflés ne prennent pas en considération l’augmentation des couts de soin de santé causés par la migration de matériaux carcinogènes dans l’air, l’eau et la terre où nous vivons;

    • La réduction des revenus de taxation provenant de la diminution de la valeur des propriétés et de la réduction de la construction de nouvelles résidences dans les régions réquisitionnées pour l’exploitation des gaz de schiste;

    • La réduction des revenus de taxation suite à la fuite des citoyens et des visiteurs pour échapper aux niveaux toujours croissant de pollution causée par l’industrialisation;

    L’accroissement des dépenses de réparation des routes et des ponts dans les régions où les infrastructures en place n’ont pas été prévues pour supporter des dizaines de milliers de camions chargés d’eau, d’eau usée et de méthane.

    On prévoit que la Campagne Action Texto continuera pour une durée indéterminée. Les organisateurs invitent tous les NéoBrunswickois de saisir cette occasion pour faire entendre leur voix, spécialement que l’administration Alward a décidé de ne pas consulter la population et de persister à favoriser l’exploitation des gaz de schiste.

    Personnes-ressources pour les médias :


    Jean Louis Deveau
    506 442 1413
    jlpdev@nbnet.nb.ca

    Terry Wishart
    506 238 4001
    t.wishart@banfrackingnb.ca
  • How low is the Alward Government prepared to stoop?

    Non-violent civil disobedience is no match for thumper trucks. Twelve New Brunswick activists found this out the hard way, after being arrested Friday morning. This brings to 20 the number arrested in the past two weeks.

    While partaking in a sunrise ceremony in a roadside field at the intersection of highways 116 and 126 in rural New Brunswick, many ran onto the road to prevent thumper trucks from passing by the area where a sacred fire had been burning since Wednesday.

    Thumper trucks are being used by SWN Resources Canada to detect the presence of shale gas deep beneath the Earth’s surface.

    According to scientific evidence, shale gas extraction leads to degradation of land, water, and air.

    Among those arrested was pipe-carrying St. Mary’s Maliseet Ron Tremblay, a respected elder and spiritual leader in his community. The pipe carries the same meaning as the rosary in the Catholic faith.

    Although disappointing, these new arrests should come as no surprise to any who have been following the Alward government’s handling of this file. With not a single word mentioned about shale gas in the Progressive Conservative’s 2010 party platform, the Alward government has no clear mandate to pursue shale gas exploration and mining.

    Yet, this government has refused (with the exception of one riding) to consult with Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals on this issue.

    It has ignored petitions sent to its members in the Legislative Assembly asking for it to cease and desist.

    It even tried to suppress a report produced on the health effects of this industry by its own public health officer.

    And now, it is being complicit in the arrest of an Aboriginal spiritual leader whose only crime was having to resort to non-violent civil disobedience in order to protect what is sacred for all of us—our land, water, and air.

    New Brunswickers deserve far better than this. An information session on shale gas mining is being organized Wednesday, June 19th at the Club 50 Plus, Route 535 in Cocagne starting at 7:00 pm. The public is invited to attend.
  • Public Release

    Q. Why this protest?

    A. Over the last year, the NB government has not given any indication that it is willing to ban or impose a moratorium on hydrofracking, despite mounting evidence on the threats it poses. We want to remind our government in the opening of the Legislature that the people of NB have not given their consent to go ahead with this industry, and that we still demand an immediate stop to any further exploration or development.

    Q. What is the big deal about hydro-fracking?

    A. Fracking is an inherently contaminating industrial process that injects trillions of liters of water laced with toxic chemicals at enormous pressure to break apart rock and release hydrocarbons from underground formations such as shale and sandstone. Part of this toxic water, which may afterwards contain heavy metals and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) from the rock it opened, flows back to the well head and has to be tracked out and treated for safe disposal. NB lacks any such treatment facility, and even if it existed, there is no way to treat NORMs.

    Q. Are there other concerns?

    A. Yes. We are talking about unconventional gas (and possibly oil) reserves than can only be exploited through a massive network of wellpads spaced every mile or so and that will require clear-cutting, 24-hour noise and light pollution, huge amounts of truck traffic (and thus accidents and road damage) and permanent alterations of the landscape of rural NB. Furthermore, many of these wells are statistically bound to fail and leak methane and other compounds through the well casing, thus contaminating groundwater. The air quality of the entire area is also bound to decrease through toxic emissions from the well operations, which include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause cancer.

    Q. How can you tell that the people have not given their consent?

    A. In the first place, there is no explicit mention of shale gas in the PC 2010 electoral platform. There is a just a call for ’responsible‘ development of NB Natural Gas reserves. Given the available evidence, ‘responsible’ would be to apply the precautionary principle and call for a moratorium as the government of Quebec has done. So they are not even honouring the call in their platform.

    Second: In November last year a petition for a ban on shale gas that nearly 20,000 people signed was tabled at the Legislature, which, by the way, were completely ignored. This is the largest collection of signatures that has ever taken place in NB on an environmental issue.

    And third, a year ago, a CBC poll of 1,800 New Brunswickers indicated that 80 percent thought environmental concerns outweigh the desire for revenue from hydro-fracking; 74 percent thought hydro-fracking should not continue, and 61 percent called for a total ban on fracking. So it is clear they cannot get the people’s consent, that’s probably why they haven’t asked for it yet.

    Q. But Dr. Louis LaPierre ruled out a moratorium in his report and calls for a phased approach, what do you have to say about this?

    A. Dr. LaPierre based his recommendation on a false assumption, namely that evidence from other jurisdictions cannot be extrapolated to New Brunswick and therefore we need to allow the industry to experiment here. What we see through the facts is that different shale plays behave very similarly both in the economics, which are systematically hyped, and in the environment, where problems are continuously surfacing. It is absurd to think that the NB case will not follow this pattern.

    Q. But couldn’t this pattern be reversed by the tough regulations the Government has promised?

    A. Unfortunately, regulations have no effect on human error or the laws of physics and chemistry. In other words, no regulations can prevent a blowout, a spill or a truck crash, or, accidents apart, the cement casing of a well to deteriorate with time and leak, or the VOCs emitted from a wellsite to travel for tens of kilometers around. In any case, rather than strengthening existing regulations, the government is dismantling them through the introduction of loopholes in environmental legislation that in fact make way for the shale gas industry.

    Q. This gutting of legislation is a serious accusation, can you please elaborate?

    A. On March 16, 2011, then Environment Minister Margaret-Ann Blaney introduced a Natural Resources wetland map that does not show more than 60% of the wetlands in NB, breaking the province's own regulations on wetlands protection and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

    On July 13, 2011, Minister Blaney notified a network of 19 watershed groups that their 10-year project work to develop a Water Classification Program was dropped because the regulations would be too difficult to enforce. This would have provided the regulatory framework for watershed protection. On November 13, 2012, Minister Bruce Fitch received final public input on their plans to exempt shale gas operations from the provincial Clean Air Act.

    Q. Finance Minister Blaine Higgs has recently pointed to the shale gas industry as an area the province could tap into for additional revenue to tackle the debt. Also, Premier Alward said on November 7th at the Minerals and Petroleum Conference in Fredericton that "Shale gas is our only path to prosperity". Do you agree with them?

    Absolutely not. Government bases these prospects on hyped industry estimates. Data from the US now show that the frenzy of drilling for shale gas in many states has not been the economic boom that industry claimed. In a study that Deborah Rogers, a renowned financial analyst, showed in her recent talk in Fredericton on the 40 counties that have been heavily drilled in the three major shale gas plays in the US, almost all of these counties had a median income, retail sales and employment rates below their State average.

    She also showed that shale plays are not as consistent and uniform as assumed. Only 2 out of 10 wells are profitable in the average shale play, and the rate of production decline is much steeper than what industry claims (on average, 60 to 80% of the total production of a well occurs in the 1st year, and by the 5th year, most wells are unproductive). Can this really be a stable source of jobs and revenues?

    Q. But don’t you think some readers may question whether your information is also biased, against industry?

    A. There is already a wealth of scientific information and journalistic investigations that support our claim that fracking is neither safe nor economic. Interested readers can weigh by themselves for example the thousands of pages of documents gathered by the New York Times under the heading 'federal officials quietly question shale gas'. What is incredible is that we are still fighting this, given the appalling evidence against the practice that is already available.

    Q. How many people do you expect will join the protest?

    Hundreds have already committed to attend through social media, and the list is growing by the day. In addition, we have over 20 community groups, 4 student groups, 6 NGOs such as the NB Lung Association and the Council of Canadians, 3 unions (CUPE, national farmers union, and Distric Labour Council), and two political parties (NDP and Greens) that are joining. These represent tens of thousands of New Brunswickers and are a real cross-section of both rural and urban NB.

    Q. What would you say to someone considering joining the walk?

    A. If you are considering joining, then you probably already understand that the shale gas industry threatens our future. Our government has been co-opted by this industry and trumpets that it can be made safe with tough regulations, while in fact gutting existing ones and that it will bring jobs and prosperity.

    To top it off, they are not listening to New Brunswickers by ignoring our petitions and calls. This is a slap in the face to Democracy that we have to make loudly visible in the streets, so that others may become aware of it.

    And if they already are, then there are hundreds of fellow citizens that feel the same way. Knowing that someone else has the same views you do and is experiencing the same outrage as you is an extremely empowering experience. Come and walk with us!
  • [Letter to Editor, The Daily Gleaner October 26 2012]

    LaPierre Report Is More Opinion Than Science

     

    I take issue with the recent Gleaner editorial – In our view: Shale gas report is a welcome dose of rationality, science.

     

    First, I don’t see the report itself as any kind of science. There are no references included and the main content of the report does not even accurately reflect the conclusions.

     

    Even a high school science report must include references and have a conclusion that consolidates the information in the body of the report. All one has to do is compare the Cleary health report, with Dr. LaPierre’s, to see how a credible science based government report should be written.

     

    Second, just like our government, the conclusion does not propose any alternatives to not going down the boom bust fossil fuel path. These alternatives were briefly mentioned in the body of the report and talked about by many at the public sessions.

     

    Some of the most successful countries in the world are well on the way to a successful carbon free sustainable economy. It is only a matter of time before every jurisdiction will need to go down this path as fossil fuels – by definition – will not last forever. Early adopters will be in the advantaged position of being world leaders that others will come to as they try to catch up.

     

    Third, we still have no proof that there are any financial benefits to New Brunswickers (or anyone for that matter) for going down this path. The government has no business plan for this industry that considers all the costs including regulation, health and social costs. We have no clue if the revenue potential will cover all of the costs. This is remarkable considering the business approach that is being used to rationalize continual government cost cutting.  

     

    Until this costing is done do we want to spend any more public dollars on something that may very well cost us big? A credible report would task the government with first costing this industry before any more development dollars are spent.

     

    I therefore do not consider Dr. LaPierre’s report to be either rational or scientific.

    Garth Hood
    Fredericton

  • Hon. David Alward

    Premier of New Brunswick

    PO Box 6000

    Fredericton, NB

    E3B 5H1

    September 19, 2013

    Dear Premier Alward:

     The Saint John and Area KAIROS is a local group affiliated with KAIROS Canada: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, linking, Anglicans, Lutherans, Mennonites, Presbyterians, Quakers, Roman Catholics and United Church members from across Canada in “Faithful Action for Justice and Peace”. 

     Since this is a Christian organization, we hold before us the life and work of Jesus when grappling with present day peace and social justice issues.  “What would Jesus do?” is a question easily tossed about, but when taken seriously, demands honest, critical study, thought, and prayer.   It is only after such work that our local KAIROS group writes to you concerning the exploration for, and extraction of, shale gas in New Brunswick.  

     God’s gift of creation is rooted in the interdependence of all living things.  When decisions are being made that place the economy above the integrity of creation, it is time to speak and to act. 

    "We are proud to join with New Brunswickers: Aboriginal, English, French, all concerned citizens alike who are calling to account the practices of the gas industry before God’s creation suffers further wounding, under the guise of progressive economic advancement"

    We appreciate the seriousness of New Brunswick’s financial situation; however, we do not feel the exploration and extraction of shale gas is a supportable solution.  An industry that threatens our water, both ground water and municipal water supplies for future generations, an industry that does not disclose the chemicals injected into the ground nor its plan for dealing with the millions of liters of polluted water when brought back to the surface, an industry that evokes high carbon dioxide emissions, an industry that is driven by corporations from away that will go away, leaving communities devastated, soil contaminated, air and water polluted is not an industry that New Brunswickers want or deserve.    

     Experience has shown that multinational corporations, when called to account, wield their power and wealth to silence or suppress local citizens in their attempts to obtain justice.  The hydraulic fracturing method of gas extraction takes place in rural areas where rallying significant opposition and launching  costly law suits against big business is difficult, if not impossible . The Kingdom of God that Jesus announced is a shared way of life in which powerless people are given preferential attention. 

    We are proud to join with New Brunswickers:  Aboriginal, English, French, all concerned citizens alike who are calling to account the practices of the gas industry before God’s creation suffers further wounding, under the guise of progressive economic advancement.           

               

    Sincerely,

    Rev. Mary Wanamaker

    For Saint John and Area KAIROS

  • NEWS RELEASE -Council of Canadians, Fredericton, NB Chapter, 25 February 2013

    NewShale Gas Rules A Red Herring Diverting From Real Issue

    FREDERICTON – Rather than paving the way for the government plans, the new rules for the oil and gas industry released on Friday, February 15th 2013 by Ministers Leonard and Fitch are becoming the object of a growing controversy.Today, 17 community groups came to the same conclusion that the new rules are a red herring trying to deflect attention from the worrying fact that they have ruled out a moratorium on shale gas based on false claims.

    “Moreover, the media have a duty to prevent government from deceiving the public. It is high time to set the record straight”

    In a statement made November 28th, 2012 in the Legislature about the future of the oil and gas industry in New Brunswick, Energy Minister Leonard claimed that both Dr. LaPierre’s and Dr. Cleary’s reports came to the same conclusion – a moratorium on shale gas exploration is neither required nor desirable in New Brunswick.

    “This claim is fraudulent”, affirms Dr. Castilla, a member of the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians and Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary. “The remarks about a moratorium appearing in the conclusion section of Dr. LaPierre's report do not stem from the content of his report or the input he received from the public. Rather, they are based on fallacious arguments such that a moratorium is incompatible with a science-based approach and would leave undefined the issues. But then how can a moratorium ever finish if the issues that prompted it are not defined?” asks Dr. Castilla.

    “The remarks about a moratorium appearing in the conclusion section of Dr. LaPierre's report do not stem from the content of his report…”

    “We also have to remember that Dr. LaPierre is a Director of NB Power, which has expressed interest in converting to natural gas some of its power generating stations. Hence it is possible that the flaws in his reasoning are intentional”, speculated Dr. Castilla. “In any case, when someone tells you that a report came to this or that conclusion, you expect something that follows from the report itself and not from a personal opinion which on top of that is biased”, explained Dr. Castilla.

    “Even more striking is the misrepresentation of the conclusions of Dr. Cleary’s report, which does not even contain the word moratorium. How can you reach a conclusion on something you don’t even mention?” Dr. Castilla asks.

    “The misrepresentation of Dr. Cleary’s report is clearly intentional”

    “The misrepresentation of Dr. Cleary’s report is clearly intentional”, argues Mark D’Arcy, a spokesperson for the Friends of the UNB Woodlot. “On November 30, 2012 I sent an email to Mr. Leonard bringing to his attention the falsehood of his claim and asking him to publicly retract from it, but he never got back to me. This is very relevant, because this claim is a center piece in the government’s rationale to move ahead with shale gas”, Mr. D’Arcy continued. “Moreover, the media have a duty to prevent government from deceiving the public. It is high time to set the record straight”, concluded Mr. D’Arcy.

    The Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians and 16 organizations and community association across New Brunswick are demanding that the case for a moratorium be reopened and revised by an independent panel of scientists with no conflict of interest with industry.

  •  NEWS RELEASE - Council of Canadians, Fredericton N.B. Chapter, 21 February 2013

     

    New shale gas rules put the cart before the horse

    FREDERICTON– The new rules for the oil and gas industry released on Friday, February 15th 2013 by Ministers Leonard and Fitch are starting to backfire on the government.Today, 17 community groups all agreed that the Alward government is putting the cart before the horse by hastily moving the shale gas file ahead without having obtained or sought the consent of Aboriginal Peoples and the rest of the people in New Brunswick.

    "There is growing scientific and anecdotal evidence that shale gas extraction is an activity that can potentially cause significant harm”

    “Premier Alward’s claim that New Brunswickers had their say on the issue during the 2010 provincial election is stretching the truth”, commented Dr Jean Louis Deveau, a social scientist and chair of the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians. “Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing were never mentioned in the PC Party platform. The PC’s statement was that they would support the responsible expansion of the natural gas sector in New Brunswick. This cannot be taken as a carte blanche for developing a shale gas industry”, asserts Dr Deveau. “The government has the responsibility of protecting the public from environmental harm. There is growing scientific and anecdotal evidence that shale gas extraction is an activity that can potentially cause significant harm. Ignoring this responsibility by moving ahead without having thoroughly assessed the risks and without a credible business case cannot possibly be called ‘responsible’; therefore their current plans cannot be reconciled with their 2010 platform statement”, concluded Dr. Deveau.

    “We maintain that proper duty to consult with Aboriginal Peoples has not been executed and so this development cannot proceed under Canada's own rule-of-law”

    “Our Government has never held public meetings to consult with their constituents about the decision to move ahead with shale gas, even though they have been requested to do so”, argues Jim Emberger of the Taymouth Community Association. “Oil& Gas companies like SWN Resources have been by with open houses, and Dr LaPierre toured the province asking for feedback about an earlier version of the new rules, but this marketing exercise and Dr LaPierre’s pro forma consultation, where no elected officials were present, are no substitutes for a meaningful two-way consultative process.”

    “Our Government has never held public meetings to consult with their constituents about the decision to move ahead with shale gas even though they have been requested to do so”

    Consent from Aboriginal Peoples could even be a harder nut to crack for the Alward government. “We maintain that proper duty to consult with Aboriginal Peoples has not been executed and so this development cannot proceed under Canada's own rule-of-law”, emphasized Brian Francis, spokesperson for the Sikniktuk Mi'kmaq Rights Coalition.

    "The government of New Brunswick does not have the free, prior, and informed consent of the Maliseet People to explore, license or mine for shale gas"

    "The government of New Brunswick does not have the free, prior, and informed consent of the Maliseet People to explore, license or mine for shale gas", asserted Alma Brooks of the Maliseet Grand Council. Chief Candice Paul of the Saint Mary’s First Nation is even more stringent: “Under our Peace and Friendship Treaty, we have not ceded any land. We have not given up title to any land in this Treaty area. So, this is the basis from where we need to talk before anyone can move ahead with any type of resource development in the province of New Brunswick”, she said shortly after Minister Leonard’s and Fitch’s press conference.

  • (Letter available for download here. Ici en Francais)

    Fredericton, February 27 2013

    Honourable Craig Leonard
    Energy and Mines Minister

    CC:
    Honourable Bruce Fitch, Environment and Local Government Minister
    Honourable David Alward, Premier of New Brunswick
     
    Dear Minister Leonard,
     
    We are a group of 29 associations, organizations and unions representing [tens of] thousands of New Brunswickers, rural and urban; Anglophone, Francophone and Aboriginal.
     

     
    "Your release of new rules for the oil and gas industry on February 15 2013 presumes that you have a mandate from the public"
     
     
    Your release of new rules for the oil and gas industry on February 15 2013 presumes that you have a mandate from the public. We believe that you have no such mandate and are not entitled to release these rules or take any further steps to proceed with the extraction of shale gas in New Brunswick. We base our claim on the following REASONS:
     
     
    “Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing were never mentioned in your Party‘s 2010 electoral platform”

     
     
    (1) Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing were never mentioned in your Party‘s 2010 electoral platform. You cannot claim that your voters were aware that you were using the term ‘natural gas’ as a synonym for the above.


    (2) You have a responsibility to protect the public from environmental harm. There is growing scientific and anecdotal evidence that shale gas extraction is an activity that can potentially cause significant harm. Therefore, you cannot allow such activity until the risks are fully assessed. Such assessment can be done without exposing the public to the actual risks, which is what you are in fact doing by allowing exploration and drilling. Ignoring your responsibility to protect the public cannot possibly be called ‘responsible’. Therefore, your current plans cannot be reconciled with the statement in your 2010 platform that you will “support the responsible expansion of the natural gas sector in New Brunswick”.
     

    “You have a responsibility to protect the public from environmental harm”
     
     
    (3) The two points above clearly show you do not have a mandate to renew existing licenses related to shale gas exploration or drilling, or to grant new ones. We believe doing so is undemocratic and irresponsible, for the aforementioned reasons.
     
     (4) You have never held public meetings to consult with your constituents about the decision to move ahead with shale gas, even though you have been requested to do so. Shale gas licensees have conducted open houses, and you hired Dr. LaPierre to solicit feedback on an earlier version of the new rules. However, industry marketing exercises and Dr. LaPierre’s pro forma consultation, where no elected officials were present, are no substitutes for a meaningful two-way consultative process.
     
     
    “You do not have a mandate to renew existing licenses related to shale gas exploration or drilling, or to grant new ones”
     
     
    (5) You do not have the free, prior, and informed consent of the First Nations in this province to explore, license or mine for shale gas, which is a requirement under Canada's own rule-of-law.
     
     
    “You have never held public meetings to consult with your constituents about the decision to move ahead with shale gas”
     
     
    (6) You have ruled out a moratorium on shale gas based on false claims. Specifically, in your Statement to the Legislative Assembly on the future of the oil and gas industry in New Brunswick made on November 28th 2012, you claimed that both Dr. LaPierre’s and Dr. Cleary’s reports came to the same conclusion – a moratorium on shale gas exploration is neither required nor desirable in New Brunswick. This claim has no basis in fact, as shown in the next three points.
     
     
    "Consult on the question of whether the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Peoples of New Brunswick want the shale gas industry to operate within provincial boundaries"
     
     
    (7) You did not give a mandate to Dr. LaPierre to make recommendations on a moratorium on shale gas. We understand this decision, since we perceive he may be in a conflict of interest on this subject, given he is a Director of NB Power. The latter has expressed interest in converting some power generation facilities to natural gas and hence has a vested interest in the development of a local shale gas industry.
     
     
    “You have ruled out a moratorium on shale gas based on false claims”
     
     
    (8) Yet Dr. LaPierre created his own, ethically questionable, mandate and ruled out a moratorium on shale gas, and you made his conclusion yours. You seemingly did not pay attention to the fact that he did not derive such conclusion from the content of his report or the input he received from the public. Rather, he derived it from fallacious arguments such as that a moratorium is incompatible with a science-based approach and would leave the issues undefined. Therefore, you cannot claim that his report came to that conclusion, or that the conclusion is based on sound evidence or perceived public will. The conclusion is rather Dr. LaPierre’s biased and flawed personal opinion.
     
     
    “Any inferred comment on a moratorium was not the intention or the point of my report”

    - Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eilish Cleary

     
     
    (9) Dr. Cleary’s report drew no conclusions on a moratorium, and does not even contain the word ‘moratorium’. When asked about this, Dr. Cleary has stated that “any inferred comment on a moratorium was not the intention or the point of my report”. Furthermore, some of us brought to your attention the falsehood of your claim about Dr. Cleary’s report and asked you to retract it, a demand that you ignored. Therefore you cannot claim you were not aware of this misrepresentation.
     
     
    “You have not substantiated your claim that the benefits for the people of New Brunswick will outweigh the risks you intend to subject them to”

     
     
    (10) You have not substantiated your claim that the benefits for the people of New Brunswick will outweigh the risks you intend to subject them to. The experience of people living in various shale plays across North America is that the purported benefits do not trickle down to the society at large, while extensive environmental, health and social problems do.
     
     
    Considering the above, we DEMAND that your government:
     
    (1) Bring the following to an immediate stop: ongoing shale gas exploration, the granting of any new licenses for exploration or wells, and the renewal of existing ones.
     
    (2) Reopen the case for a moratorium and commission an independent panel of scientists with no conflict of interest with industry to review it.
     
    (3) Apologize to the public for the false claims ruling out a moratorium and publicly retract them.
     
    (4) Consult on the question of whether the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Peoples of New Brunswick want the shale gas industry to operate within provincial boundaries. We believe the consultative process should not start until (i) the risks are fully assessed; and (ii) a credible scenario-based business case is developed to assess potential benefits.
     
    We kindly ask that you reply promptly and publicly to this letter.
     
    Respectfully,
     
    29 organizations, associations and unions of New Brunswick

    (please see alphabetical list below)

     
     
    Canadian Union of Public Employees New Brunswick (CUPE NB)
    CCNB Action
    Citizens Coalition for Clean Air
    Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis
    Council of Canadians – Saint John Chapter
    Council of Canadians – Fredericton Chapter
    Darlings Island Fracking Intervention Naguwigewauk
    ecoFredericton Sustainable Living Inc.
    Fredericton & District Labour Council
    Friends of Mount Carleton
    Friends of the UNB Woodlot
    Hampton Water First
    Maliseet Grand Council
    Memramcook Action
    New Brunswickers Against Fracking
    New Brunswick Senior Citizens Federation
    National Farmers Union New Brunswick (NFU NB)
    Notre Environnement, Notre Choix
    Parents Against Everyday Poisons
    Penniac Anti-Shale Gas Organization
    Quality of Life Initiative
    Sierra Club Atlantic
    Sikniktuk Mi'kmaq Rights Coalition
    Stanley Area Action Group
    Taymouth Community Association
    Tantramar Alliance Against Hydrofracking
    Upper Miramichi Stewardship Alliance
    Upriver Environment Watch
    Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County
  • For Immediate Release

     

    LaPierre’s report is opinion, not science

    Dr. Louis LaPierre’s report on public feedback about the New Brunswick government’s shale gas industry proposals was released on October 15th, and is already attracting comments and criticisms. A retired biologist, LaPierre was commissioned by the provincial government to hold public meetings and gather public reaction concerning the government’s 116 recommendations for regulating a potential shale gas industry. In his report, Dr. Lapierre wrote that there were few comments about the government’s regulations at those meetings. Instead, the public spoke mostly about matters concerning the environment, health, water, and so on. In the concluding remarks of his report, Dr. LaPierre makes recommendations about a moratorium, a phased-approach to development, and outlines a structure for managing gas distribution.

    Today, 18 community groups supported a statement suggesting that LaPierre’s recommendations and conclusions were based on opinion, not science.

    Dr. Jean Louis Deveau, a social scientist with the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians, says that while LaPierre’s report appears to contain a fairly accurate representation of the concerns expressed at the public meetings, the report’s conclusions and recommendations are unfounded.

    “Dr. LaPierre was directed to report on people’s concerns about the government’s recommendations for regulating the industry,” Deveau explains.

    “People spoke and wrote to him. Those words and textual submissions were his data. In a proper scientific analysis, his conclusions should have been derived from the actual data he received and might have read something like this: ’New Brunswickers were faced with too many unknowns about the shale gas industry to be in a position to provide meaningful input on the government’s recommendations for regulating the industry. Therefore, they chose to voice their concerns about water, the environment, health, and so on.’ However, instead of linking his conclusions to those data, Dr. LaPierre chose to debate the pros and cons of a moratorium, a phased approach to industry development, and a management structure for a future shale gas industry in New Brunswick. In short, there is nothing in his data to support any of those concluding remarks.”

    Deveau suggests that LaPierre has actually failed to follow the science-based approach advocated in his own report and that his report amounts to little more than an opinion piece.

    Conservation Council of New Brunswick—Stephanie Merrill

    Council of Canadians, Fredericton Chapter—Jean Louis Deveau

    Council of Canadians, Saint John Chapter—Carol Ring

    Darlings Island Fracking Intervention Naguwigewauk—Doug Foster

    Friends of UNB Woodlot—Mark D’Arcy

    Hampton Water First—Chris Rendell

    Harvey Environmental Action—Terry Wishart

    Memramcook Action—Patricia Leger

    Maliseet Grand Council—Alma Brooks

    New Brunswickers Against Fracking—Stan Donovan

    Our Environment, Our Choice—Mike McKinley

    Parents Against Everyday Poisons—Michael Stoneleigh

    Penniac Anti-Shale Gas Organization--Eric Hadley

    Quality of Life Initiative—Otty Forgrave

    Tantramar Alliance—Marilyn Lerch

    Upriver Environment Watch—Ann Pohl

    Upper Miramichi Stewardship Alliance—Brad Wood

    Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County—Deborah Carr

  •  PRESS RELEASE
    September 28, 2012
    PENOBSQUIS - THE FIGHT CONTINUES!

    “I just spent my 79th birthday spraying bleach under my house because the moving ground has caused the septic lines to sag and pull apart, allowing sewage to leak into the ground.”

    - Georgia McCabe


    Residents of Penobsquis, New Brunswick began seeing damages to their properties in 2004 caused by what residents believe are mining related ground movements. Since 2004, water wells went dry, walls developed cracks, roofs began to buckle, and septic and sewage lines have separated.

    In July of 2010, a complaint was lodged with the New Brunswick Mining Commissioner against Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. This began a legal battle that has lasted more than two years. Twenty four residents were asking for Justice for their community. Most of the 24 residents withdrew their complaints on September 10, 2012, but Georgia McCabe, Heather McCabe and Beth Norrad are continuing with the Hearings.

    “How can a company call itself a responsible citizen when a senior in the community where they operate is living in a home with a buckling roof, sagging walls, and leaking sewage? Potash Corporation experts admitted there has been almost a meter of sinking beneath our home in a 10 year period. How could it not cause damage?” says Heather McCabe.

    On Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:30am, the Hearings, being held at the All Season’s Inn in Sussex, will come to a close when the three remaining complainants give their closing arguments.

    Media Contact: Heather McCabe Tel. (506) 433-3390
    Email h.mccabe@bellaliant.net
  • PRESS RELEASE

    For Immediate Release        November 17, 2011

    Shale Gas Protest March and Rallies in Fredericton November 19th and 23rd

     

    FREDERICTON NB ---- A march and two rallies at the Provincial Legislature will take place on November 19th and November 23rd to protest unconventional shale gas development in New Brunswick.
    Citizens and community groups from throughout New Brunswick will converge on Fredericton on Saturday, November 19th and at the opening session of the New Brunswick Legislature on Wednesday, November 23rd with their message to the Alward Government that the exploration and extraction of natural gas from shale using horizontal drilling in combination with slick water hydraulic fracturing will not be tolerated.

    New Brunswickers from all over the province denounce the development of an unconventional shale gas industry. The process used to extract unconventional shale gas is less than 20 years old. It is the undisputed cause of ecological damage and long-term economic net debt, earthquakes, air and noise pollution, infrastructure degradation and the profligate use and irreversible poisoning of trillions of litres of fresh water. It leaves deleterious impacts on the lives and health of humans and other animals in its wake.

    “The civic duty of New Brunswick residents does not require that they be guinea pigs in anyone's science experiments”, states Jim Emberger, spokesperson for the Taymouth Community Association.

    The promise of large-scale job creation appears over-exaggerated. In a recent presentation at the University of New Brunswick on October 22, 2011, Mr. Calvin Tillman, former mayor of Dish, Texas mentioned that since this industry requires highly skilled workers, most will be imported from outside the province to enable the industry to be more competitive at a time when stock market prices for natural gas are low.

    Events on Saturday, November 19th will begin at 7:00 am with a Sunrise Ceremony at the Old Burial Grounds at 51 Woodstock Road. At 10:00 am there will be a benefit concert at the Old Burial Grounds for the people of Penobsquis. A march to the Provincial Legislature will begin after the concert, starting at 11:00 am.

    Sixty residents in Penobsquis have lost their well water and have experienced ground subsidence allegedly from the industrialization of their rural community. Some who want to move away have been unable to sell their homes. We ask, where is justice for the people of Penobsquis? Will regulations serve anyone when more things go wrong? A point made clear in the recent documentary by Rob Turgeon, ‘Be... Without Water’. (www.youtube.com/user/robfturgeon#p/a/u/1/aK0NMTMXHSw)

    Events on Wednesday, November 23rd are scheduled to begin at the Provincial Legislature at 12:00 noon. A program with music and speakers will begin at 1:00 pm.

     

    Media Contacts:

    Jean Louis Deveau 506 442 1413 jlpdev@nbnet.nb.ca     

    Julia Linke 506 367 0987 linkejul@gmail.com

    Terry Wishart 506 238 4001 t.wishart@banfrackingnb.ca

    _________________________________________________

    COMMUNIQUÉ

    Pour publication immédiate                              17 novembre 2011

    Marche et rassemblements contre les gaz de schiste à Fredericton les 19 et 23 novembre

    FREDERICTON NB — Une marche et deux rassemblements devant l’Assemblée législative auront lieu les 19 et 23 novembre pour protester contre l’exploitation non traditionnelle des gaz de schiste au Nouveau-Brunswick.

    Des citoyens et des groupes communautaires de toutes les régions du Nouveau-Brunswick se réuniront à Fredericton le samedi 19 novembre et lors de la séance d’ouverture de l’Assemblée législative du Nouveau-Brunswick le mercredi 23 novembre pour livrer leur message à l’administration Alward que l’exploration et l’exploitation du gaz naturel des schistes en utilisant le forage horizontal avec des fluides de fracturation ne seront pas tolérées. Les Néobrunswickois de toute la province dénoncent l’exploitation non conventionnelle des gaz de schiste par l’industrie. Le processus utilisé pour extraire les gaz a moins de 20 ans. Et il est la cause non contestée de dégâts écologiques, de dettes économiques nettes à long terme, de tremblements de terre, de pollution atmosphérique et sonore, de dégradation des infrastructures et de l’utilisation immodérée d’eau et de l’empoisonnement irréversible de trillions de litres d’eau douce. Par ailleurs, cette industrie laisse dans son sillage des impacts nuisibles sur la vie et la santé des humains et des autres animaux.

    « Le devoir civique des résidents du Nouveau-Brunswick n’exige pas qu’ils servent de cobaye pour les expériences scientifiques, » affirme Jim Emberger, porte-parole de l’Association communautaire de Taymouth.

    Les promesses de créations d’emplois à grande échelle semblent très exagérées. Dans sa récente présentation à l’université du Nouveau-Brunswick le 22 octobre dernier, monsieur Calvin Tillman, ancien maire de Dish au Texas a mentionné qu’étant donné que cette industrie a besoin de travailleurs hautement qualifiés, la plupart d’entre eux proviendront de l’extérieur de la province afin de permettre aux opérations d’être plus compétitives au moment où les prix sur le marché du gaz naturel sont bas.

    Les évènements de samedi 19 novembre vont commencer à 7 heures avec une cérémonie du lever du soleil au vieux cimetière situé au 51 Woodstock Road. À 10 heures, il y aura un concert au bénéfice des citoyens de Penobsquis. La marche vers l’Assemblée législative commencera après le concert à 11 heures au même endroit.

    En effet, soixante résidents de Penobsquis ont perdu l’eau de leur puits et ont subi des affaissements de terrain après l’industrialisation de leur collectivité rurale. Certains qui ont voulu déménager ailleurs n’ont pas été capables de vendre leur maison. Nous demandons, où se trouve la justice pour les habitants de Penobsquis? Est-ce que des règlementations vont servir à qui que ce soit lorsque d’autres choses tourneront mal? Un récent documentaire par Rob Turgeon donne une réponse très claire :

    « Vivez...sans eau » (www.youtube.com/user/robfturgeon#p/a/u/1/aK0NMTMXHSw)

    Les évènements de mercredi 23 novembre débuteront à l’Assemblée législative à midi. Un
    ensemble d’évènements avec musique et conférenciers débutera à 13 heures.

     

    Personnes-ressources pour les médias :

    Jean Louis Deveau 506 442 1413 jlpdev@nbnet.nb.ca

    Julia Linke 506 367 0987 linkejul@gmail.com

    Terry Wishart 506 238 4001 t.wishart@banfrackingnb.ca

  • PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release November 22, 2011

    Shale Gas Protest Rally in Fredericton November 23rd

    FREDERICTON NB ---- A rally at the Provincial Legislature will take place on November 23rd to protest unconventional shale gas development in New Brunswick.

    Citizens and community groups from throughout New Brunswick will converge on Fredericton on Wednesday, November 23rd at the opening session of the New Brunswick Legislature with their message to the Alward Government that the exploration and extraction of natural gas from shale using horizontal drilling in combination with slick water hydraulic fracturing will not be tolerated.

    Members of CUPE locals from throughout the province will be joining industry opponents in solidarity on Wednesday. At their November 3rd 2011 National Convention, CUPE adopted Resolution No.96, which expressly states that all levels of government must put an end to shale gas development because the industry, “has failed to demonstrate that such development would not have serious consequences for the environment and the health of citizens”; and governments being “clearly unprepared for this issue, and have done a poor job of responding to public concerns”.

    New Brunswickers from all over the province denounce the development of an unconventional shale gas industry. The process used to extract unconventional shale gas is less than 20 years old. It is the undisputed cause of ecological damage and long-term economic net debt, earthquakes, air and noise pollution, infrastructure degradation and the profligate use and irreversible poisoning of trillions of litres of fresh water. It leaves deleterious impacts on the lives and health of humans and other animals in its wake.

    “The civic duty of New Brunswick residents does not require that they be guinea pigs in anyone's science experiments”, states Jim Emberger, spokesperson for the Taymouth Community Association.

    The promise of large-scale job creation appears over-exaggerated. In a recent presentation at the University of New Brunswick on October 22, 2011, Mr. Calvin Tillman, former mayor of Dish, Texas mentioned that since this industry requires highly skilled workers, most will be imported from outside the province to enable the industry to be more competitive at a time when stock market prices for natural gas are low.

    Sixty residents in Penobsquis have lost their well water and have experienced ground subsidence allegedly from potash mining and the added burden of shale gas drilling in their rural community. Some who want to move away have been unable to sell their homes. We ask, where is justice for the people of Penobsquis? Will regulations serve anyone when more things go wrong? A point made clear in the recent documentary by Rob Turgeon, ‘Be… Without Water’. (www.youtube.com/user/robfturgeon#p/a/u/1/aK0NMTMXHSw)

    Events on Wednesday, November 23rd are scheduled to begin with a gathering at the Provincial Legislature at 12:00 noon. A program with music and speakers will begin at 12:45 pm.

    Media Contacts:
    Jean Louis Deveau 506 442 1413 jlpdev@nbnet.nb.ca

    Julia Linke 506 367 0987 linkejul@gmail.com

    Terry Wishart 506 238 4001 t.wishart@banfrackingnb.ca

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Pour publication immédiate COMMUNIQUÉ 22 novembre 2011

    Rassemblement contre les gaz de schiste à Fredericton le 23 novembre

    FREDERICTON NB − Un rassemblement aura lieu à l’Assemblée législative demain le 23 novembre afin de protester contre l’exploitation des gaz de schiste au Nouveau-Brunswick.

    Des citoyennes et des citoyens ainsi que des groupes communautaires de l’ensemble du Nouveau-Brunswick convergeront vers Fredericton à l’ouverture de la Législature du Nouveau-Brunswick demain mercredi le 23 novembre pour signifier à l’administration Alward que l’exploration et l’extraction des gaz naturels en utilisant le forage horizontal avec des fluides de fracturation sous pression ne seront pas tolérées.

    Les membres des sections locales de toute la province du SCFP se joindront en solidarité à ceux qui s’opposent à l’exploitation des gaz de schiste. Lors de leur Convention nationale le 3 novembre dernier, ils ont adopté la résolution 96, qui déclare expressément à tous les niveaux de gouvernement que l’on doit mettre fin à l’exploitation des gaz de schiste parce que cette industrie « a failli de démontrer que de telles entreprises n’auraient pas de conséquences graves sur l’environnement et sur la santé de la population, » et que les gouvernements « sont manifestement mal préparés devant cet enjeu et qu’ils n’ont pas réussi à répondre aux préoccupations de la population. »

    Les NéoBrunswickois de toute la province dénoncent le développement non conventionnel de l’industrie des gaz de schiste. Le processus utilisé pour extraire les gaz de schiste non conventionnels a moins de 20 ans. Et il est la cause non contestée de dégâts écologiques, de tremblements de terre, de pollution atmosphérique, de pollution par le bruit, de dégradation des infrastructures et de l’utilisation immodérée et de l’empoisonnement irréversible de trillions de litres d’eau douce. Elle laisse dans son sillage des impacts nuisibles pour la vie des humains et des autres animaux.

    « Le devoir civique des résidents du Nouveau-Brunswick n’exige pas qu’ils servent de cobaye pour les expériences scientifiques de qui que ce soit, » affirme Jim Emberger, porte-parole de l’Association communautaire de Taymouth.

    Les promesses de créations d’emplois à grande échelle semblent très exagérées. Dans sa récente présentation à l’université du Nouveau-Brunswick le 22 octobre dernier, monsieur Calvin Tillman, ancien maire de Dish au Texas a mentionné qu’étant donné que cette industrie a besoin de travailleurs hautement qualifiés, la plupart d’entre eux proviendront de l’extérieur de la province afin de permettre aux opérations d’être plus compétitives au moment où les prix en bourse du gaz naturel sont bas.

    En effet, la collectivité de Penobsquis a perdu (60) puits et sources depuis plusieurs années. Les plateformes de forage pour les gaz de schiste qui contribuent au fonctionnement des processus de la mine de potasse sont dispersées dans les pâturages et les coteaux à l’amont de la Kennebecasis. Nous demandons, où se trouve la justice pour les habitants de Penobsquis? Est-ce que des règlementations vont servir qui que ce soit lorsque d’autres choses tournent mal? Un récent documentaire par Rob Turgeon donne une réponse très claire : « Vivez…sans eau » (www.youtube.com/user/robfturgeon#p/a/u/1/aK0NMTMXHSw)

    Les évènements de demain mercredi 23 novembre débuteront à midi lors du rassemblement devant l’Assemblée législative provinciale. Un programme de musique et de conférenciers suivra à midi et 45.

    Contacts pour les médias:
    Jean Louis Deveau 506 442 1413 jlpdev@nbnet.nb.ca

    Julia Linke 506 367 0987 linkejul@gmail.com

    Terry Wishart 506 238 4001 t.wishart@banfrackingnb.ca
  • This just in...
    Yesterday at the Rally, we began our Text Message Action. Now we all have the chance to do the same, wherever we are.

    With a very simple text-message procedure, a 'No Shale Gas" message is sent to all 55 MLAs and the Premier. This was setup in partnership with the Council of Canadians.

    Each cell phone can send the text message twice, once in English and again once in French.

    The procedure takes about 10-15 seconds, and is stated below in Blue (first in French, then in English). You simply dial 123411, then type in either "ngs" (French) or "nsg" (English). It's not case sensitive. You will then receive a text-message in reply, at which point you simply type your "firstname lastname".

    It's as easy as breathing deep. You will receive a final reply that states the message to the MLAs (it is a short text basically asking for a ban on shale gas in NB).

    We need to spread the word around, so that this goes viral. Stephanie Merrill is presenting over 12,000 signatures on the CCNB petition in a session of the Legislature next Tuesday Nov 29 in the morning. Imagine if we could get 12,000 + people using this text message action! Post it on your Facebook, Twitter, whatever.

    Here are the instructions -- have fun!

    For French,

    1. Vous allez écrire une texte au « 123411 »
    2. Dans le message, écrivez tout simplement « NGS » (‘G’ in French sounds like the English ‘J’) pour Non au Gaz de Schiste, et envoyez-le.
    3. Vous allez recevoir une réponse presqu’immédiatement; répondez avec votre nom
    4. (Puis le réponse que vous allez recevoir à ça : L'industrie du gaz de schiste doit cesser au N.-B. Signez ce msg pour l'envoyer à tous les députés du N.-B. Taux en vigueur s'appliquent) You don’t really need to say this one; you could just say #6. I was just thinking in case you get a question about the text on this one, as some words are blurred together in the actual response.
    5. Votre lettre à été envoyer à tous les 55 (cinquante-cinq) membres de l’Assemblée législative! Vous pouvez seulement le faire une fois en chaque langue par téléphone cellulaire.

    For English,
    1. We’re going to send a text to “123411”
    2. In the body of the message, type “NSG” for No Shale Gas, and click on send.
    3. You’ll get a response almost immediately; respond to that with your first and last name
    4. You’ll get a thank-you note, indicating your letter has been sent to all 55 MLAs. This action can only be performed once in each language, per cell phone.
    ***********
  • For Immediate Release
    PRESS RELEASE
    22 November 2012

    Toughest shale gas regulations in North America? – Not anymore

    Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada – New Brunswick government introduces a loophole that exempts all shale gas operations from the provincial Clean Air Act.

    The Alward government has proposed exempting certain businesses from the Clean Air Act implemented in 1997 to protect New Brunswickers from the harmful effects of air pollution. Air pollution results in premature deaths, as well as tens of thousands of hospital administrations and emergency room visits by Canadians experiencing respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.

    “The Alward government pledged to develop world-class regulations to oversee the shale gas industry – to strengthen existing regulations and not dismantle them,” says Mark D’Arcy, a member of the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians.
    In a speech to the Moncton Chamber of Commerce on October 3rd 2011 Premier David Alward said, “We actually have a strong set of policies and regulations already. But we need them to go further to ensure New Brunswickers and our environment will remain protected. And we’ll make sure they do go further. As a matter of fact, we’ll make sure New Brunswick has some of the toughest regulations governing exploration and development on this continent.”

    “By relaxing these standards the Alward government is doing exactly the opposite of what it continually promises the public,” says D’Arcy.

    Under the current classification (Clean Air Act, 1997), shale gas companies fall under a Class 4 designation. Class 4 criteria require emissions less than: 1) 10 tonnes per year of either sulphur dioxide or particulate matter and 2) 30 tonnes of gas per minute.

    The proposed amendment, allegedly targeting small heating plants, reads as follows: ‘if the sulphur dioxide emissions released into the environment are less than 10 tonnes per year and the particulate matter emissions released into the environment are less than 10 tonnes per year, no approval is required…’

    Note that the only criteria being targeted for exemption coincidentally relate directly to the manner in which the shale gas industry is currently classified.

    “This is like saying that to get your driver’s license you must be 16 or over and pass both written and road tests. However, in another superseding section of the Motor Vehicle Act it would state that anyone 16 or over is exempt from all driving tests. Does this make any sense?” says D’Arcy. “First wetlands, next watersheds, and now air sheds are available for deregulated development.”



    Reference:
    Response to Proposed Amendment to the Air Quality Regulation 97-133 under the Clean Air Act
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