• 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.

  • Government has released its “Oil and Natural Gas Blueprint” for New Brunswick. It reads like an election platform, with vagaries and cheerleading for the bright future we will all have if we just close our eyes and open our hearts and arms.
     
    The Blueprint promises “responsible development” all the while hoping we’ll forget about all of the previous policy commitments for environmental protection and a resilient economy that have been reneged or recently stalled:
     
    Read Full Article:
    http://www.conservationcouncil.ca/oil-and-gas-blueprint-a-misprint-for-our-future/
 © 2018 NBEN / RENB