• Commission’s Fracking Report Shows Moratorium Remains Smartest Policy And That Time Is Right To Begin New Brunswick’s Transition to Low-Carbon Economy

    FREDERICTON — The report released today from the New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing provides more evidence that the provincial government made the smart policy decision by putting a moratorium in place and throws down the gauntlet for N.B. to start the transition to a thriving low-carbon economy.

    Consider what the Commissioners say in their report:

    • The challenge and opportunity for economic development today is in clean and low-carbon technologies as governments across the world — including New Brunswick — prepare to deal with the opportunities and challenges of climate change. The Commissioners say New Brunswick must transition away from the old-world economies of resource extraction into a new value-added and knowledge-based era driven by new forms of energy, stating: “The world is shifting towards integrated energy systems that will be supported by a variety of advanced technologies, most of which will not require fossil fuels.”

    • The environmental protection and energy regulatory system in New Brunswick is prone to conflicts of interest. The Commissioners highlight significant gaps in the current framework, such as the lack of understanding and mapping of our groundwater system, and highlight pieces that are broken entirely, such as the failure of the Water Classification regulation for protecting rivers and streams. The current approach means a government department has to have two heads, meaning ministers serve two masters — one that promotes energy projects and another that regulates them. This system leads not only to confusion, anger and distrust but also creates too many unanswered questions, especially with respect to the cumulative effects of energy projects on water, air and public health.

    • Nation-to-Nation communication with First Nation communities is sorely lacking and needs years of repair and capacity-building for all involved.

    “The Commissioners rightly point out that the world shifted with the signing of the first universal climate agreement and that the real opportunities for jobs and economic growth comes from clean energy and energy efficiency,” says Lois Corbett, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “The economic case for renewables grows stronger every month and energy efficiency has long been recognized as a tool for creating jobs and keeping electricity affordable.”

    Corbett continued: “It’s clear from the Commissioners’ report that New Brunswick’s regulatory and oversight system is prone to conflicts of interest and is at best years away from being ready to handle shale gas. If we spend 90% of our effort and New Brunswickers’ ingenuity focused on building the clean energy transition then we’d all be much better off than continuing an endless conversation about fracking.”

    Corbett concluded: “The moratorium was the smart public policy decision in 2014 and it remains the right public policy well into the future. The Commissioners outline the crossroads our province — and the world at large — is facing, and it’s hard to imagine a future for new shale gas development in a world committed to protecting our families from climate change. Our best bet for creating jobs right now in New Brunswick is through energy efficiency and clean power technology. That’s the road we need to take, and it’s the road that doesn’t put our drinking water or communities’ health at risk.”
    —30—

    The report will be available on the Commission's website.

    Read the submissions the commission received from groups and individuals here.

    Read the commissioners’ blog here.

    To arrange an interview, contact: Jon MacNeill, Communications Director. Office: 458-8747; Cell: 261-1353; Email: jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca
  • New Brunswick Oil and Natural Gas Blueprint

    Wishful Thinking about Our Future

    The government’s blueprint is not a plan for the future; it is the history of a past to which we cannot return. It was forged in an alternate reality created by fossil fuel companies, banks and PR firms. No outside information may pass into this reality. How else can we explain the following about the plan?

     

    It ignores the worldwide alarms from scientists, global financial and energy institutions, and the world’s military and intelligence establishments that climate change is the most serious threat to our existence, our financial systems, and our security. Yet, the blueprint bases our future on shale gas and tar sands, two of the worst emitters of greenhouse gases.

     

    It ignores the lack of public health studies about shale gas, and disregards the serious warnings raised from the studies that do exist.

     

    It ignores implementing many of its own Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations for baseline health studies, and relegates others to a ‘will be considered in the future’ status.

     

    It ignores adequately addressing some recommendations by simply claiming they are answered in the ‘Rules for Industry’. Those concerning fracking fluid disclosure, well testing and setbacks clearly are not.

     

    It ignores the fact that insinuating the newly created Energy Institute into matters formerly handled by health professionals will only deepen public mistrust.

     

    It ignores the calls from New Brunswick health professionals, including doctors, nurses and cancer and lung associations, for a moratorium until studies can be done.

     

    It ignores the extensive record of air and water pollution that has occurred everywhere shale has been produced, regardless of regulations, including ignoring data from industry’s own records showing a high frequency of well failures.

     

    It ignores the facts that alternative energies such as wind and solar are the fastest growing parts of the energy sector and are supplying increasing amounts of energy and good long-term jobs at competitive costs - everywhere else in the world but here.

     

    It ignores the growing number of economic studies that show that local communities do not profit from shale gas, and that most fare worse than similar non-shale communities on virtually every socio-economic measure.

     

    It ignores the growing number of financial and petroleum analysts who have taken the measure of shale gas through industry records and judged it to be a bubble that will soon burst. They question its longevity and its business plan.

     

    It ignores the growing number of countries, states, provinces, regions and municipalities (including many in New Brunswick) that have instituted bans or moratoriums on shale gas.

     

    And, most troubling of all, it has ignored the voices of its own citizens.

     

    It ignored a 2011 petition with 20,000 signatures, and a recent letter from groups representing more than 50,000 people calling for a halt to shale exploration.

     

    It ignores the growing number of diverse social, labor, professional, environmental, health, political and citizen groups that continue banding together to oppose shale gas.

     

    It ignores its treaty duty to do real consultation with First Nations, and ignores its own call for public meetings. It even ignores the well-researched public comments from the alleged ‘listening tour’ conducted by Dr. LaPierre.

     

    Instead it has listened to the shale industry exclusively, and kowtowed to its needs, whether by not punishing lawbreakers like Windsor Energy, or by improperly granting license renewals to SWN on the flimsiest of excuses.

     

    It has listened to industry trade groups like the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, whose language, deceptive advertising, disinformation, and meaningless phrases like, ‘best practices,’ show up in the government’s blueprint and website.

     

    It has listened to Dr. LaPierre, a biologist with no demonstrated expertise on shale gas, who sits on the board of NB Power and channeled their wishes in his report. In return he was rewarded with the patronage job of chairmanship of the publicly funded Energy Institute that he, and he alone, had proposed a new government entity that will cost taxpayers a million dollars in its first year.

     

    It has listened to the self-interested banks via former premier Frank McKenna, who represents TD Bank – a major investor in Transcanada’s pipeline business, and a bank that makes fortunes from oil and gas mergers and acquisitions.

     

    It has listened to Hawk Communications, a public relations firm it hired with at least $200,000 of taxpayer money, not to improve communications, but to help sell the LaPierre report.

     

    In short, to govern in New Brunswick is to live in a self-contained universe with no links to the outside world. Only in such a place could the government’s blueprint be deemed a serious approach to the issues facing both New Brunswick and the earth.

     

    Therefore, we call again for a halt to any exploration and production of shale oil or gas, until such a time that the citizens have had a chance to examine in depth all the factors surrounding it. Only then can they explicitly reject it, or proceed with it after understanding all of its implications.

  • Pour diffusion immédiate
    Le 21 novembre 2018

    FREDERICTON — Après avoir pris connaissance du discours du Trône du premier ministre Blaine Higgs, M. Jim Emberger, porte-parole de l’Alliance anti-gaz de schiste du Nouveau-Brunswick (AAGSNB), a déclaré que son organisation fait preuve d’un « optimisme prudent concernant la volonté et la capacité du gouvernement minoritaire d’agir judicieusement dans son approche vis-à-vis de nos mandats d’empêcher la production de pétrole et de gaz non classiques dans notre province et de ralentir le changement climatique par l’instauration d’une économie verte.»

    Dans son discours, M. Higgs s’est fortement prononcé en défaveur d’un « vol intergénérationnel », qui reviendrait à voler l’avenir de nos enfants. M. Emberger relève, cependant, que « l’exemple le plus flagrant de cet enjeu n’est pas le lègue d’un fardeau fiscal, mais le laisser-aller face au changement climatique, l’utilisation de ressources non renouvelables et d’autres problèmes liés à la dégradation de l’environnement qui priveraient nos enfants et nos petits-enfants de la moindre chance de bénéficier d’une vie de qualité ». À cet égard, il a cité de nombreuses poursuites judiciaires intentées dans le monde entier concernant le changement climatique par, et pour, des enfants en vue de défendre le droit des prochaines générations de jouir d’une vie décente.

    Dans son discours, M. Higgs reconnaît que le changement climatique est un problème causé par les humains, et que nous devons travailler à y remédier, notamment en passant à une économie « verte » viable et susceptible de créer des emplois; des positions que l’AAGSNB soutient depuis longtemps.

    Il réclame, en outre, la désignation d’« un fonctionnaire de l’Assemblée législative responsable de la science et du changement climatique, qui serait également chargé de rétablir l’indépendance du système de santé public récemment démantelé ». M. Emberger, qui partage ces positions, a déclaré que « l’examen des données scientifiques et des connaissances sur la santé public liées au climat et au gaz de schiste va pleinement dans le sens de nos positions concernant ces enjeux ».

    Finalement, M. Emberger a affirmé que les membres de son organisation étaient heureux de constater l’attention accordée à notre relation avec les peuples autochtones, ainsi que la mise en place de la Commission de vérité et de réconciliation, mais a toutefois relevé que « comme toujours, il est difficile de savoir dans quelle mesure le gouvernement est sérieux, ou jusqu’où il est prêt à aller ».  

    Le ton conciliant du discours ainsi que la volonté affirmée de travailler avec les législateurs de tous les partis politiques pourraient constituer un bon moyen de gouverner, mais seulement si l’on permet la liberté des votes.

    En conclusion, M. Emberger a estimé que le ton du discours et les valeurs présentées étaient positifs, mais que les mesures qui en découleraient devaient être à la hauteur des balises établies; à cet égard, il a rappelé que « nous avons poursuivi en justice le gouvernement Alward sortant pour n’avoir pas tenu compte des données scientifiques, ni de la santé et de l’avenir de nos enfants, et que nous pouvons également poursuivre un autre gouvernement, y compris celui de M. Higgs. Nous espérons sincèrement que ce ne sera nécessaire ».

    Personnes-ressource
    Jim Emberger, porte-parole : cellulaire : 506 440-4255; courriel :shaleinfo.nb@gmail.com
    Denise Melanson, porte-parole (francophone) : cellulaire : 506-523-9467 ; courriel : inrexton2013@yahoo.ca

  • 21 November 2018

    FREDERICTON — After reviewing Premier Higgs’ throne speech, Jim Emberger, Spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA), stated that the organization is “cautiously optimistic about the willingness and ability of the minority government to act sensibly in its approach to our mandates of preventing unconventional oil and gas in the province and slowing climate change by developing a green economy.”

    The speech made a strong statement against ‘inter-generational theft’, or stealing the future from our children. Emberger noted that, “The most extreme example of this, however, is not an inherited tax burden. It is allowing climate change, the use of non-renewable resources, and other problems of environmental degradation to remove any possibility of a good life from the future of our children and grandchildren.” He cited the many lawsuits on climate change filed worldwide by, and for, children and their right to a decent life.

    Climate change was recognized in the speech as a problem that people cause, and that we must deal with, including by transitioning to a ‘green’ economy that will provide jobs and be sustainable, positions long maintained by NBASGA.

    The speech called for a “legislative officer responsible for science and climate change, and to restore the independence of the recently dismantled public health system”. Endorsing these positions Emberger stated, “We maintain that the examination of the science and public health knowledge concerning climate and shale gas firmly support our position on those issues.”

    Emberger said they were happy to see attention given to the relationship with our indigenous population, and implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but noted, “As always, it is hard to know how serious the government is or how far it’s prepared to go.”

    The speech’s conciliatory tone, and stated willingness to work with the legislators from all political parties, could provide a way to govern, but only if free votes are allowed.

    Emberger concluded that the tone and values expressed were positive, but that ensuing actions must live up to those markers, noting, “We sued the out-going Alward government over ignoring science, health and the future of our children, and we can sue an incoming Higgs government as well. We sincerely hope that won’t be necessary.”

    Contact:
    Jim Emberger, Spokesperson: cellphone: 506 440-4255
  • Frack Letter BY
    We need to speak up for the health and safety of New Brunswickers.

    Premier Blaine Higgs says his minority Progressive Conservative government will end the province-wide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and allow the controversial and risky process in the Sussex region. And Premier Higgs wants to do it fast — before the New Year.

    Use your voice to let the Premier know this is bad public policy. The Conservation Council has launched an easy-to-use letter-writing tool so you can have your say on fracking to your local Member of the Legislative Assembly, Premier Higgs, and all political party leaders.

    Click here to send our pre-written letter (which you can edit freely) today.

    Why should I send my #noshalegas letter?

    New Brunswickers know that climate change is here, now, and already impacting our communities. It is time to diversify our energy toward the huge potential of renewable sources and turn the page on the fossil fuels causing climate change and impacting our health.

    Fracking is not worth the risks it poses to our drinking water, our environment, or our health and safety.

    There are now more than 1,300 scientific studies, journalistic investigations and government regulatory reports on every aspect of shale gas extraction. The overwhelming majority of them substantiate the threats that the industry poses towards public health, water and the environment, and climate change.

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    *Picture: Families, farmers, and New Brunswickers of all walks of life rally to protect their health and water from the threat of shale gas development.

    Climate change

    Burning oil, coal and gas is not good for our health. These energy sources pollute the air we breathe, contaminate the water we drink, and unbalance the climate we depend on. Renewable energy using solar, wind, hydro or other technologies is a clean way to deliver the power we need. Renewing our energy system lowers air pollution, protects water, and helps slow climate change.  The good news is that we have what it takes to renew our energy system.

    This is where the good jobs are headed. Canadians know energy, and we have the can-do attitude and skills needed to build the renewable energy system almost all Canadians want. The most competitive economies are heavily investing in their clean energy sectors. Shifting to more energy-efficient and clean forms of renewable energy to power our economy is the surest way to maintain Canadian jobs and create new economic opportunities for New Brunswickers. Our province can accelerate the renewal of its energy system by developing its abundant renewable energy sources. And, in doing so, we join the growing group of forward-thinking jurisdictions creating opportunities for workers, businesses and communities.

    Water and air pollution

    Methane, fracking fluids and other drilling chemicals have been proven to enter waterways via leaking wells, spills, pipeline breaks, well blowouts, truck accidents and floods.  In addition to making water wells undrinkable and causing illnesses, contaminated waters have killed farm animals, wildlife, fish, vegetation and have left farmlands unusable. Many studies have linked airborne illnesses to density and nearness of gas wells, some documenting problems up to 4km from wells.  Because airborne pollution can be inhaled, swallowed, and also reach the skin, it has emerged as one of the primary public health concerns.  Other shale gas chemicals have created ground-level ozone over 300 km from the source, aggravating asthma, respiratory diseases and causing irreparable lung damage. These are just a few of the risks fracking poses to New Brunswickers. To learn more, check out these helpful resources:

    Recommended resources:

 © 2018 NBEN / RENB