• Below is the open letter from Canad's Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver -it is a blunt and staunch posisition - a must read for all Canadians.

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    Natural Resources Canada
    2012/1
    January 9, 2012

    An open letter from
    the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources ,
    on Canada’s commitment to diversify our energy markets and the need to further streamline the regulatory process in order to advance Canada’s national economic interest


    Canada is on the edge of an historic choice: to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo.

    Virtually all our energy exports go to the US.   As a country, we must seek new markets for our products and services and the booming Asia-Pacific economies have shown great interest in our oil, gas, metals and minerals. For our government, the choice is clear:  we need to diversify our markets in order to create jobs and economic growth for Canadians across this country.  We must expand our trade with the fast growing Asian economies. We know that increasing trade will help ensure the financial security of Canadians and their families.

    Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade.  Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry.  No mining.  No oil.  No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.

    These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.  They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects.  They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.  Finally, if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach:  sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further. They do this because they know it can work.  It works because it helps them to achieve their ultimate objective: delay a project to the point it becomes economically unviable.

    Anyone looking at the record of approvals for certain major projects across Canada cannot help but come to the conclusion that many of these projects have been delayed too long.  In many cases, these projects would create thousands upon thousands of jobs for Canadians, yet they can take years to get started due to the slow, complex and cumbersome regulatory process.

    For example, the Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline review took more than nine years to complete.  In comparison, the western expansion of the nation-building Canadian Pacific Railway under Sir John A. Macdonald took four years.  Under our current system, building a temporary ice arena on a frozen pond in Banff required the approval of the federal government.  This delayed a decision by two months.  Two valuable months to assess something that thousands of Canadians have been doing for over a century.

    Our regulatory system must be fair, independent, consider different viewpoints including those of Aboriginal communities, review the evidence dispassionately and then make an objective determination.  It must be based on science and the facts. We believe reviews for major projects can be accomplished in a quicker and more streamlined fashion.  We do not want projects that are safe, generate thousands of new jobs and open up new export markets, to die in the approval phase due to unnecessary delays.

    Unfortunately, the system seems to have lost sight of this balance over the past years.  It is broken.  It is time to take a look at it.

    It is an urgent matter of Canada's national interest.

    The Hon. Joe Oliver
    Minister of Natural Resources


    Media may contact:

    Patricia Best
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister
    Natural Resources Canada
    Ottawa
    613-996-2007

    or

    Media Relations
    Natural Resources Canada
    Ottawa
    613-992-4447

    NRCan’s news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media.

    http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/news-release/2012/1/3520

  • DR. ANTHONY INGRAFFEA TO SPEAK IN MONCTON ON NOV. 30 AND IN HAMPTON ON DEC. 1.

    The following includes an excerpt from the Nov. 2011 issue of Scientific American, in The Truth About Fracking.

    Dr. Anthony Ingraffea will be presenting in Moncton, November 30th at the Capitol Theatre and at Hampton High School on Thursday, Dec. 1st at 7:00 p.m.. He will explore myths and realities of large-scale development of unconventional natural gas resources.

    On a local scale, these concern geological aspects and the resulting use of directional drilling, high-volume, slickwater,hydraulic fracturing, multi-well pad arrangements and the impacts of these technologies on waste production and disposal. On a global scale, he will explore the cumulative impact on greenhouse gas loading of the atmosphere. Dr. Ingraffea is known for his clear and straight-forward explanations of these rather complex processes using visual displays and down to earth language.

    Dr. Ingraffea is the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering and a Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow at Cornell University. He participated in research and development for the oil and gas industry for 25 years, specializing in hydraulic fracture simulation and pipeline safety and twice won the National Research Council/U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics Award for Research in Rock Mechanics.

    Dr. Ingraffea became a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1991; he became Co-Editor-in-Chief of Engineering Fracture Mechanics in 2005; he won ASTM’s George Irwin Award for outstanding research in fracture mechanics in 2006; and in 2009, he was named a Fellow of the International Congress on Fracture. Recently, he has been deeply engaged in informal education regarding the topic of this lecture with over 50 public presentations over the last year.

    This event is part of the Shale Gas Speaker Series and is sponsored by CCNB Action and New Brunswick Shale Gas Alliance Member Groups throughout the Province.
    This is a unique opportunity to become well informed about the most controversial issue facing New Brunswickers today.

    Contact info:

    Carl Wolpin: crwolpin@xplornet.com 832-7827

    Chris Rendell: appsolca@yahoo.ca 832-4660
  • Gallant government watering down the protection of our rivers, streams and lakes
    by Jean Louis Deveau

    At the Peace and Friendship Alliance (PAFA) meeting of March 19th, Lawrence Wuest introduced us to the Gallant government’s proposed new water strategy which is meant to replace our current Water Classification Regulation, NB Regulation 2002-13.

    The following is an attempt to explain the differences between the two.

    The proposed new water strategy may be found on all of two pages, that is, on pages 17 and 18 of a discussion paper called Working Together to Build a Water Strategy for New Brunswick. It consists of four main goals.

    Goal no. 2 of this new water strategy, as quoted from page 17, is: “to manage and use water responsibly by protecting drinking water and eco-system [sic] health while allowing economic opportunities (my emphasis).”

    Of concern is that, compared to our current water policy, water will be used for economic development, “now and in the future.” An example of this would be to use water for fracking. In short, the use of water for economic development is now entrenched in the draft water strategy and so on equal footing with the traditional use of water which is to maintain the health of our environments. These two objectives are diametrically opposed. Plus, there is no indication on how water allocations would be made and who would be making those decisions other than that it would be a shared responsibility amongst the consumers, be it corporations or people, large or small.

    On page 6 of the new water strategy, the Government stated that it is committed to engage First Nations communities in the discussion and that information will be sent to those communities. According to discussions held at the PAFA meeting, on March 19th, First Nations were not involved in drafting this new water strategy before it was released to the public. And since the provisions of the Government’s own policy on the Duty to Consult Indigenous Peoples requires that First Nations be consulted at the outset, as opposed to after such a policy has been drafted, the government is already in contravention of its own rules and regulations, not to mention Supreme Court of Canada rulings from which their consultation policy is a derivation of.

    Our current water classification system as specified in A Guide to New Brunswick’s Water Classification Regulation, and albeit never implemented, has been in existence since 2002. It is designed to protect aquatic life. This is accomplished by way of engaging with community members to collect data on the quality of water in the streams, rivers, and lakes of their respective communities. This data is then used to classify these bodies of water according to three different classes of water: A, B, or C, where class A consists of the highest quality water. Each body of water would then be managed according to its classification. Nobody is permitted to do anything to change a body of water’s classification without receiving permission from members of the local community, thereby making local communities responsible and accountable for the care and use of their water. This is by far one of the most progressive policies in North America yet risks being dismantled by the Gallant government in exchange for their watered-down policy which is the subject of this notification.

    There has been a great deal of interest demonstrated from New Brunswick’s communities in classifying bodies of water. Since 2000, more than a million dollars has been dispensed by the Environmental Trust Fund to non-governmental organizations, such as the Nashwaak Watershed Association and the Groupe du bassin versant de la region du Cap Pele, to collect data needed for the classification of some 19 rivers in New Brunswick.

    table


    Whereas our current water classification system is focused on a single bottom line of ensuring that the conditions necessary to maintain aquatic life are being met, as illustrated in Table 1 above, the triple bottom line of the new water strategy, that is, of managing water for people, nature, and industry is problematic for at least three reasons. First, the incorporation of water as a means for economic growth ultimately leads to the commodification of water.

    The commodification of water means that water could be traded on the free market like oil, gas, and other commodities. Should our water become entangled in free trade agreements, this would undoubtedly lead to conflicts on who should have priority over its use: people, nature, or industry. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, corporations trump all else. Second, the transferring of the responsibility for the care of our water from communities into the hands of consumers, be it people or corporations, means that not only have local communities lost control over their water but that whoever has the most power and influence, in terms of corporations and or other consumers, gets to decide who uses our water. Third, this way of managing our water is not in keeping with the government’s obligations of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples who view water as sacred and who would never accept water being used for economic development.

    My second point is about the lack of transparency over this issue. Despite the importance and gravity of this major policy change in water use, public consultations on this new water strategy have been occurring with little to no advertisement, thus making it nearly impossible for interested citizens to become engaged. Appearing in the Gallant Government’s last throne speech, and in a press release which was not picked up by the media, public notifications have not been widely distributed. To date, four open houses have occurred, with only two left to happen this week: Monday in Saint John and Wednesday in Fredericton. The meetings are also happening during supper time, that is, between 4:30 pm and 6:30, making it difficult for many people to attend, particularly those who finish work at 5:00 pm and those with young children in daycare. By way of comparison, the 2012 Citizen Engagement tour for the new oil and natural gas standards were well advertised and took place between 6:30 and 8:30 pm.

    And finally, I wish to refer to a comment on page 13 of the new water strategy made in reference to the deficiencies of the current water classification system.

    [Department of Environment and Local Government] was advised that deficiencies within this regulation prevented its use to classify surface waters and the program was put on hold. Furthermore DELG received legal advice that suggested attempting to fix this regulation would equate to an entire rewrite of that part of the legislation.

    Charles Murray, our Ombudsman did not agree with the concerns expressed above by the Department of Environment and Local Government as stated on pages 5-6 of his report:

    At this point, it should be noted that no court has ruled upon the Regulation. Accordingly, the suggestions that the Regulation is void or unenforceable are thus far opinion— perhaps correct, but not having the force of law...The suggestion that there continues to be unaddressed issues about the legality of Regulation 2002-13 12 years after its coming into force strains credulity.

    To conclude, the Government is now developing policy that would transform water into a vehicle for economic development. Consultations with Indigenous peoples have not yet occurred and public open houses will have been completed by the time most New Brunswickers will have heard anything about this, leaving the majority of us with few options to make our voices heard on what is undoubtedly our most important and precious resource—water. The closing date for comments on the new water strategy is April 29th and so the time to act is now.

     
  • 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

  • .


    This video examines the JD Irving and Government of New Brunswick
    Crown Land Forestry Plan and explains why it must be stopped.


    ‪- produced by the Green Party of New Brunswick‬



  • 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.

  • (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
  • (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 11 of 11)

    Our Remaining Important Questions

     

    The government’s position has been that it is okay to continue exploration, because if we find shale gas development to be unsafe for either the people or the environment, we can simply stop it at that point. SWN had a three-year license to explore during which it pledged to spend $47 million dollars. The government recently passed a new regulation to grant them extensions of that license.
    "If a large portion of the medical profession in
    the province… says it is not safe to continue…
    can they be overridden by a political decision?"
    It is hard for us to conceive that after allowing the company to explore for 5 years and spend $47 million dollars that the government would say, ‘Sorry SWN, we don’t think it’s safe, you’ll have to go.’ Even if the government did say that, we suspect the action would be followed by costly lawsuits and extreme damage to the province’s reputation.
    The only sane approach is for a moratorium or ban to be started immediately before industry invests millions more. However, if the government wants to persist in what many consider a reckless policy, we want to know several things:

     

    - First, what will be the legal instrument used to deny leases to companies who have lawfully fulfilled their license agreements?

    - Secondly, who will decide on what is safe, what will be the decision-making process and who will provide the criteria to decide the standard of ‘safeness’?

    - Will the entire decision making process by open to public comment?

    - If a large portion of the medical profession in the province, backed by other medical societies around the world and supported by studies, says it is not safe to continue, given their commitment to the ethic of “first do no harm”, can they be overridden by a political decision?

    - What percentage of leaking gas wells or water well contaminations will our ‘safety standards’ allow as ‘acceptable’? How will that be decided?

    - If local communities have different conceptions of what is safe, what can they do?

    We need answers to these basic questions before we can give any serious consideration to the government’s current position.

     

     

     

  • (Personal Submission to Dr. Louis LaPierre and the Natural Gas Group, June 19 2012 Hillsborough, New Brunswick by Margo Sheppard)

     (Page 1 of 4)

    Dr. LaPierre and members of the Shale Gas Group, I would like to express my concern with shale gas development as informed by my experience assessing the environmental impacts of major infrastructure projects from both the proponent’s and regulator’s perspectives

     

    After twelve years in environmental assessment and policy in the Ontario government, I moved here and since 1996 have worked for the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, fourteen of which as Executive Director. I currently chair the Canadian Land Trust Alliance, an umbrella group for conservation trusts across this country. I am on the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Protected Natural Areas in New Brunswick because I care about the future of this province’s wild spaces and species. I speak as an individual, not as a representative of any group.

     

    “The waste of time, money and human energy that this shale gas misadventure has caused, when we should be focusing on clean, green, sustainable activities and business ventures to actually benefit New Brunswick and bring our children home”

     

    As a fresh-faced environmental planner back in the early 1980s, I studied and consulted the public on new highways. Walking pastoral landscapes I made lists of flora and fauna, knowing that a four-lane expressway would soon flatten it all. I assured people that the effects would be small; the forests and farms soon to be bisected would heal or just cease to be. The need for the highway, the sustainability of the highway or the urban sprawl and loss of countryside it caused I never questioned.

     

    How blithely my ministry paved over Class I agricultural land in the interest of cars and development; how irreverently we dismissed the public’s concerns-- about homes lost, villages split in two—mostly, as facilitators of this upheaval, in order to be able to sleep at night. To address the true impacts would have meant to listen to people and actually prevent the destruction before it started. From the perspective of today, how I wish I had questioned authority and challenged all we did. Alas I did not. I was a few years into an environmental planning career when I discovered my role was to simply minimize, or downplay the damage in the public’s eyes, not actually prevent it.

     

    That was in 1984; global population was 4.8 billion and C02 levels in the atmosphere were 340ppm. Environmental concern worldwide was growing, but there was not the vast store of scientific fact, understanding of the threats or their causes that we have today.

     

    “…but the lure of short-term profits, temporary jobs and delusions of budget surpluses militate that we proceed blindly down this path, unquestioning and uncritical of its folly”

     

    Fast forward to 2012, global population is 7 billion according to the United Nations and the C02 concentration in the atmosphere is close to 400ppm. The cumulative effects of 160 years of industrial activity supercharged by fossil fuels and unconstrained consumption have caught up with us in the form of climatic changes that are going to eclipse any remediation that could, but likely won’t, be administered. At least we now know how to avoid causing further harm, don’t we?

     

    Yet here we are tonight, discussing the merits of still another emissions-intensive fossil-fuel development: shale gas. Clearly we have learned nothing from our current predicament and past failures. Or perhaps we have learned, but the lure of short-term profits, temporary jobs and delusions of budget surpluses militate that we proceed blindly down this path, unquestioning and uncritical of its folly.

    I do not criticize the shale gas group. I criticize its political masters who, encouraged by industry representatives and growth advocates, are willing, no, eager, to sacrifice the clean environment and landscapes of New Brunswick to further their careers and twisted ideas of what it is to have true prosperity. The waste of time, money and human energy that this shale gas misadventure has caused, when we should be focusing on clean, green, sustainable activities and business ventures to actually benefit New Brunswick and bring our children home, is so huge it makes my head spin and my heart break. […]

     [Please Note: Download attachment Hillsborough Shale Gas Presentation]

  • 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
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results for Perth Andover NB May 21 2014

    1. Government should represent people not the Irvings (18)

    2. Create local jobs that stay in the community (10)

    3. (tie)
    - Stop media control by Irving (9)

    - Kick the Alward government out (9)

    - Pressure government to kick-start renewable energy (9)

    4. (tie)
    - Give back control of our forests to NBers. Remove control by Irving (8)

    - No pipeline (8)

    - Elect politicians who don't want shale gas (8)

    5. (tie)
    - Create your own job - more opportunity for small business, self sufficiency (7)

    - Cultivate Hemp (7)

    6. Promote food products from our forests, ecotourism, native medicines (6)

    7. (tie)
    - Keep big logs and trees and process them here, add value (4)

    - Community owned and run forestry (4)

    - Policies to replace imports with domestic goods (4)

    Study successful plans in Vermont, Nova Scotia, etc and implement here in NB (4)

    8. (tie)
    - Community gardens (3)

    - Maintain good jobs, education and health care (3)

    - People need to get informed (3)
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results for Rexton NB and area May 14 2014

    Two hundred and more enthusiastic and engaged people from the Rexton and Kent County areas attended a standing room-only Voice of the People Tour stop at the Bonar Law High School Wednesday evening.

    Aboriginal, Acadian, English and other friends and neighbours spoke their minds on the issue of fracking and how they choose to take a stand in rejecting the shale gas industry while pursuing viable and locally-based solutions and alternatives to our 'Dig it Up, Cut it Down, Ship it Out'economy.


    Below are the results of the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR Red Dot Poll for Rexton NB

    1. People of NB will not stand by and allow this (fracking) to happen (112 dots)

    2. Boycott Irving (83 dots)

    3. More emphasis on food security for Kent County (64 dots)

    4. On election day make a statement by voting for a party opposed to fracking (59 dots)

    5. SLAPP suits by SWN (South Western Energy) are unacceptable and will be challenged by individuals and by class action (53 dots)

    6. Honour Aboriginal land and rights (51 dots)

    7. Exploration test wells need to be opposed/stopped. "We have to stop before they drill" (36 dots)

    8. We need to get behind local & provincial politicians who have opposed shale gas (33 dots)

    9. Tools and incentives (e.g. community economic development investment funds) need to be made more available to assist communities to develop renewable energy programs (29 dots)

    10. Greater transparency from government regarding costs incurred from shale gas industry (impacts to air quality, water quality, public health, road maintenance, etc.) (18 dots)

    11. Organized tours of Penobsquis are available. It is important that we see and smell what the industry creates (17 dots)

    12. Speak out not only for yourself but for your wider community (11 dots)

    13. Phased environmental impact assessments (EIA) will be ineffective tools of a regulatory process (9 dots)

    14. Make personal submissions or complaints if medical conditions are potentially at risk by operations that may be planned to happen near or around your community (4 dots)

    15. Challenge the establishment and their use of words to obscure the truth & take away our rights (2 dots)
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results for Stanley NB May 27 2014


    70 people attended the  Stanley Voice of the People Town Hall Wednesday evening. Here are the Red Dot Poll results:

    1) Need community meetings to generate ideas about creating our own industries, just like at this town hall meeting

    2) Our water must be protected!

    3) Stop the centralization of power and industry in NB ( lack of democracy)

    4) Moratorium on shale gas

    5) We want long term jobs for our children and a clean future

    6) Bring back sustainable forestry not plantations

    7) Business opportunities for wind energy in NB

    8) Need more tools to create small, local economies

    9) Keep our children here by rural development 

    10) Home owners need incentives to generate own power i.e. Solar, biogas, windmill
  •  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    NEWS RELEASE,  JULY 24, 2012

    Ward 10 Residents Request for Shale Gas Consultation Meeting Shut Down

    Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada – Provincial government officials deny local grassroots residents group request for participation in province wide information and consultation process on shale gas development in New Brunswick.

    On June 28th a letter was signed by many residents attending a crowded Ward 10 Residents Association meeting in Fredericton.  The letter responded to concerns by many residents that they were not being sufficiently informed and consulted on shale gas development as originally promised by Premier Alward in recent speeches and the election.

    "Over the last several months, Fredericton residents, including those in Ward 10, have expressed concerns about not having been invited to participate in a meaningful conversation about the development and regulation of a shale gas industry in New Brunswick,” said Leah Levac, Fredericton city councillor for Ward 10. “In my conversations with residents, many have expressed a desire to receive more information about the province's plans regarding shale gas development so that they can develop an informed opinion on the matter". 

    The letter asked, "Dr. Louis LaPierre and the Natural Gas Group to meet with the Ward 10 Residents Association in Fredericton (before the end of July 2012) so our residents can be informed on shale gas regulations and have a voice in this important process.”

    The following morning, the letter was mailed and emailed to the Natural Gas Group as well as copied to provincial and city politicians. On July 20th, the Ward 10 Residents Association was told that it could meet with Dr. LaPierre and the Natural Gas Group for 20 minutes. The group was also told that it would have to share the 20 minutes with the Friends of the UNB Woodlot, and that no more than three Ward 10 residents were allowed to participate.

    The group feels that attempts to respond to Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup's announcement which read, “we look forward to hearing from New Brunswickers [during Dr. LaPierre's consultation]” (press release), and to his open invitation to any “groups or associations” to meet with LaPierre and the Natural Gas Group are being undermined.

    “The shale gas public consultation tour missed a majority of our population by not even going to Moncton, Saint John or Fredericton,” said Ward 10 resident Taeyon Kim.  “How can even three Ward 10 residents make any informed decision in 20 minutes shared with another group?”

    The Ward 10 Residents Association will only participate in a consultation process that is democratic and transparent.  On October 3rd 2011 David Alward gave a speech to the Moncton Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Greater Moncton on shale gas development and the importance of public information and consultation on this issue.  Mr Alward referred to “town hall and information meetings” where MLAs could “hear directly from their constituents on this important issue.”  Later in the speech he added, “It’s a discussion we as New Brunswickers all need to have.”

    “I met with my MLA, Brian MacDonald, and he agreed with our request for a meeting with the Natural Gas Group, that allows residents to become fully informed and consulted on shale gas development in New Brunswick,” said Ward 10 resident Garth Hood.  “He said he would do everything within his power to help us get this public meeting.”

    The association fully agrees with Mr. Alward that, “It’s a discussion that we as New Brunswickers all need to have.” The association does not agree that Ward 10 residents have been given any open and democratic public opportunity for informed discussion. This is why the Ward 10 Residents Association is repeating the original request:

    The Ward 10 Residents Association requests that Dr. LaPierre and the Natural Gas Group hold a public meeting within Fredericton so all residents can be fully informed and consulted on shale gas development in New Brunswick.

    Posted For Ward 10 Residents Association

    Media Contact: Taeyon Kim frederictonward10residents@gmail.com

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