• “Courts ‘Recognizing the Obvious on Climate”

    “Courts ‘Recognizing the Obvious on Climate”

    Telegraph Journal, Daily Gleaner, Times Transcript - March 11, 2019

    The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance was an intervener in the recent Saskatchewan Court of Appeals reference case on the federal carbon pricing “backstop.”

    Those opposing carbon pricing portrayed the case as strictly a constitutional matter of jurisdiction, and chose not to discuss the issue of climate change. However, one of the first questions the Chief Justice asked Saskatchewan’s lawyer was: “If (climate change) literally imperils the future of the planet, should it be taken into account?” 

    There was little doubt why the Justice asked this question. The Court had received overwhelming evidence about climate change and its calamitous effects. 

    Our group submitted judicial decisions from courts around the world, based on the principle that increased greenhouse gases emissions from anywhere, no matter how small the amount, add to the global totals that threaten everyone. 

    Clearly the courts are now recognizing the obvious about climate change and the elemental part fossil fuels play in it. 

    Saskatchewan and its co-plaintiffs, realizing that being “deniers” is no longer politically acceptable, proclaim concern about climate change. But their claims ring hollow, as all these provinces have recently elected Progressive Conservative governments whose climate policies belie their words.

    Sadly, New Brunswick is a case in point. Its signature energy policies of a new shale gas industry and a resurrection of the Energy East bitumen pipeline contradict concern about climate change, despite official rhetoric to the contrary.

    The first necessity to slow climate change is to stop creating additional greenhouse-gas emissions from new fossil fuel sources. This is the very thing that carbon pricing is designed to deter.

    How could New Brunswick meet any greenhouse gas limits while starting a shale gas industry that would create huge volumes of emissions from leaking methane and from burning large quantities of diesel fuel and gasoline?

    Reviving Energy East is a fantasy few experts consider viable, not least because its approval would have to consider the climate effects of its upstream and downstream emissions. It didn’t face that requirement last time around, but would now.

    By misreading climate change considerations, and fossil fuel market forces, our government’s policies both suffered setbacks.

    After promising that Corridor Inc. had millions of dollars to immediately invest in local shale gas, the premier appeared to be blindsided when Corridor said it wouldn’t be drilling new wells until 2021, and only if it found a financial partner.

    This should not have been a surprise. The gas market is flooded. Shale gas has never been profitable for lenders and investors, who are now demanding long-delayed paybacks. The easy money spigot is closing, making it tougher to get financial backing.

    A recent Supreme Court decision, finding environmental clean-up obligations have precedence over repaying loans, has made banks warier about fossil fuel investments.

    Mr. Higgs has countered with the position that local shale gas could replace gas from Nova Scotia’s about-to-close Sable Island facility. However, gas suppliers, noting that a new local shale gas solution was years away, announced they would supply the Maritimes with western gas via the pipeline that was the centrepiece of Energy East. 

    With Energy East dead, and with no apparent market justification for local shale gas, Mr. Higgs now gives us a truly convoluted policy rationalization for both.

    He would have us believe a local shale gas industry (years in the making) would convince gas pipeline companies and western producers to give up their Maritime business, and once again go through the near-impossible task of Energy East approval.

    Besides needing dozens of things to go exactly right, the many years required would bring this plan to fruition at the very time when fossil fuels must be reduced by nearly half, and when carbon pricing would be at a maximum. It strains credulity.

    Readers should note these setbacks to the premier’s plans are not due to political opposition, or environmental activism, but rather to business decisions and market forces in the industry. 

    Climate change, by necessity, will be a major market force in reducing fossil fuels, while cheap renewable energy is another. 

    Energy planners and pundits should begin recognizing the obvious, as Alberta just did in contracting three new solar farms to provide 55 per cent of the government’s electricity, at nearly half the cost of natural gas.

    The U.S. Permian Basin, the heart of shale oil, produces so much accompanying gas they pay to get rid of it. Yet, plans for the industry’s electricity needs include a solar farm and the world’s largest battery.

    Despite many similar examples, Mr. Higgs maintains renewable energy is still too expensive, and continues dealing in the false hopes of fossil fuel riches. Both ideas are from a bygone era.

    The climate threat and market forces clearly indicate there is no future in a local shale gas industry. We, too, need to recognize the obvious.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, an organization intervened in the recent court challenge over carbon pricing in Saskatchewan.

  • A Response to the New Brunswick Government’s White Paper on Recommendations to Govern the Development of Shale Gas from the Taymouth Community Association

    (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)

    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. [...]

  • A Tribute to Stephanie Merrill

    From the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

    The struggle to keep unconventional gas and oil development (UNGOD) out of New Brunswick is a story filled with many actors, heroes and organizations, each playing important and vital roles.

    However, for many of us involved in that struggle, the seeds for our victory were largely sown by a single person – Stephanie Merrill, the Water Specialist at the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.  What follows is our special tribute to Stephanie, who is now heading out to share her expertise with the Global Water Futures program at the University of Saskatchewan.

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

    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.”
  • An Open Letter to MLAs for the Immediate Release of the Complete Health Study on Shale Gas Sector

    IMPORTANT: Please E-mail Your MLA To Release Dr. Cleary's Health Study On Shale Gas

    It has been learned that the NB Chief Medical Officer's health report on shale gas has been ready for about a week. The government appears to be delaying its release.

    Please find below the draft text of an e-mail YOU can send to your MLA!


    MLA email addresses at this link: http://www1.gnb.ca/legis/bios1/index-e.asp

    Members of the 57th Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick 

    (listed by riding in numerical order and e-mail address)

    Please forward wide and far to your friends.


    Thank you for your action!



    Mark D'Arcy Email markandcaroline@gmail.com 


    Terry Wishart Email t.wishart@banfrackingnb.ca







    Members of the 57th Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick


    (listed by riding in numerical order + e-mail address)



    Dear _______________, MLA


    RE:  An Open Letter to MLAs for the Immediate Release of the Complete Health Study on Shale Gas Sector


    I just learned that the Health Study on Shale Gas has been completed by Dr. Eilish Cleary, the chief medical officer of health in New Brunswick.  It is my understanding that Dr. Cleary submitted her report to the Alward government about one week ago, and that the report was scheduled to be released in September 2012.


    The health implications of introducing shale gas development in this province is one of the most important issues facing New Brunswickers today.  I respectfully request the following:


    1.  The Alward government should take care to release the report immediately and to neither delay nor censor it.


    2.  The MLAs hold meaningful public consultation on whether to allow or disallow shale gas development in New Brunswick. This consultation should start with legislative hearings, and later include public meetings on the government's final recommendations.


    It will be very troubling to our democracy if either of these two steps is not forthcoming.




    All discussion and decisions on shale gas regulations are premature.  




    It is my understanding that the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eilish Cleary, has developed recommendations on the shale gas industry "at preventing or mitigating potential adverse public health effects associated with the industry".

    In the CBC interview with Dr. Cleary (see reference below), she explained that the health study would document how the industry could impact human health, how to mitigate or prevent the risks, as well as how to measure the actual impact of the industry on the health of New Brunswickers if the shale gas industry was to proceed in this province.

    Dr. Cleary said she would make recommendations in each of the following 4 areas: (1) Physical risks; (2) Risks to the community and mental health; (3) Risks from exposure to environmental sources; and (4) Risks to the long-term health of the population.


    Furthermore, the public has not yet been consulted on whether or not the province should move forward with shale gas exploration and fracking. Dr. Louis LaPierre publicly admitted, at the shale gas regulations meeting in Norton, NB on July 04, 2012, that the mandate given to him by your government did not include the ability to recommend a moratorium or ban on shale gas development. 


    Lastly, during a speech delivered in Moncton last October, Premier David Alward advised that Members of the Legislative Assembly would be organizing town hall and information meetings later that month “to hear directly from their constituents on this important issue."


    We have a right to know and to be properly consulted. 


    I look forward to an honest and open discussion of all the health, environmental, and economic implications of shale gas development in New Brunswick. 


    Sincerely yours,


    cc:  Premier David Alward


    Minister Responsible for Citizen Engagement


    Province of New Brunswick


    E-mail: david.alward@gnb.ca







    Health study may examine impact of shale gas sector


    Chief medical officer will issue recommendations in the summer - CBC News May 22, 2012


    Premier David Alward, October 3, 2011 - Speech to Moncton Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Greater Moncton

  • Citizens invited to give input on new shale gas recommendations

    On May 17, the provincial government released documents containing new measures and recommendations on the oil and gas industry in New Brunswick. The documents, prepared by the Natural Gas Group, include 116 recommendations to ensure the environmentally responsible management of the industry, and are divided into short-term (104) and long-term (12). In addition, the government announced it will put in place a maximum fine of $1 million for breaches of the Oil and Natural Gas Act.

    The Natural Gas group is now seeking feedback on the new measures and recommendations, and the public is invited to provide comments until July 18, 2012.Led by environmental expert Professor Louis LaPierre, the group will be conducting a citizen engagement tour across the province to collect feedback on the discussion paper. Stopping in selected communities across New Brunswick, they will offer a public open house as well as a public meeting, where citizens will be allowed to ask questions regarding exploration, development or other topics of interest.

    The documents are available for download and can be found in the shale gas area of our public consultations page.

    Here is a list of host communities for the tour:

    ●    Wednesday, June 6 - Chipman
    ●    Monday, June 11 - Stanley
    ●    Monday, June 18 -Salisbury
    ●    Tuesday, June 19 - Hillsborough
    ●    Wednesday, June 20 - Grand Falls
    ●    Thursday, June 21 - Bathurst
    ●    Friday, June 22 - Bouctouche
    ●    Monday, June 25 - Blackville

    Feedback can also be made by contacting the Natural Gas Group at 1350 Regent Street, Room 150 Fredericton, NB E3C 1G6 Fax: (506) 453-3671 Email: naturalgas@gnb.ca

    The Natural Gas Group is also open to meeting privately with groups or associations, who are asked to e-mail their requests.

  • Commentary: What we don't know can hurt us

    Jim Emberger,Spokesperson
    New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

    [A slightly edited version of this appeared in “The Telegraph-Journal”and ”The Daily Gleaner” on May 17, 2019, under the the title ‘Public not well-informed on climate change’.]

    I recently met a crew from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who were installing a new structure to count salmon smolt on the Tay River. In recent years the count has been disappointingly small, so new and better information is needed.

    It’s always heartening to see dedicated people working to save our environment, but this morning I was left feeling that their task was like trying to hold back the tide.

    I had just read the United Nations report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. It concluded that human activities have pushed one million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction.

    The reporting agency’s chair stated, "The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide."

    Seems like the kind of consequential information everyone needs to know. But mainstream media barely covered it. Since most people still get their news from mainstream media, the citizens, politicians, pundits and publishers who will shape our future will do so in ignorance of the real world.

    We just witnessed a similar failure of the press in the debate over carbon pricing, which took place with hardly any discussion of the essential context of the climate crisis.

    Carbon pricing began simultaneously with the release of a momentous scientific report showing that Canada is warming at two or three times the rate as the rest of the world. One of the consequences is increased precipitation.

    Days later another study reported that the arctic, as we have known it, is gone. High temperatures, that crush records by double digits, have altered almost every part of the arctic ecosystem, pushing it into a new state of existence.

    This will seriously impact global weather patterns, especially in our Northern hemisphere. One researcher warned, “What happens in the arctic does not stay in the arctic.”

    Other studies note that feedback loops, like melting permafrost (twelve times faster than thought), are increasing the speed and intensity of warming, and that the latest climate models show that former ‘worst case’ scenarios may, in fact, prove to be the norm.

    These reports each contained enough important news on causes, effects, and necessary actions to provide daily news stories for weeks.

    Actual media coverage lasted one or two days for the Canadian story, while the other stories received essentially no coverage.

    These studies were all released as eastern Canada was enduring the second ‘once-in-a-generation’ flood in two years. A responsible media could have informed the public of the connection between these stories and events.

    Instead, week after week, media climate news consisted solely of variations of the PC party’s political narrative, that a modest price on carbon pollution was somehow an assault on our freedom.

    This ‘debate’, consisting almost entirely of conjecture, crowded out the factual context of the climate crisis. One would think that carbon pricing, rather than a climate crisis, was threatening our world.

    Another missing story was that new audits of the emission targets of the Paris climate treaty reaffirmed that “any production from new oil and gas fields, beyond those already in production or development,” will take us beyond safe limits.

    This means that exploiting new tarsands or shale gas will render our other climate plans meaningless.

    Perhaps, not knowing this explains how Premier Higgs, pundits, publishers, and economists can express concerns for flood victims in one breath, while in the next breath promote new fossil fuel projects whose development will help to ensure a growing supply of future flood victims.

    If they had good climate information, politicians might be aware that raising roads won’t help us, unless we do something to keep future floodwaters from rising even higher.

    The media’s failure to provide context has consequences.

    The effort necessary to slow climate change is often compared to fighting World War II. It will require universal consensus that recognizes the vastness of the problem, the substantial work required, and that some sacrifices may be needed, but also that the task is necessary, we can do it, and that any hardships are justified by guaranteeing a liveable future for ourselves and our children.

    The climate crisis is the definitive ‘we are all in this together’ issue.

    The press has made getting this necessary consensus much harder. The outrage fostered by its focus on the politics of carbon pricing, was not balanced by sober reasoning about limiting fossil fuels.

    Angry people, whipped into a divisive frenzy by a one-sided argument, are not easily drawn back together.

    In one of the least reported parts of the Appeals Court carbon pricing decision, the five justices unanimously agreed that, “climate change has emerged as a major threat, not just to Canada, but to the planet itself.”

    We all need to be privy to the same proof that convinced the Court of that conclusion. Providing it should be the daily job of the press.

    Otherwise, the press simply becomes the enabler of ignorance. And as Mother Nature keeps reminding us, “what we don’t know can hurt us.”

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

    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.”

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

    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

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

     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.

  • Community Groups Respond to Government's Shale Gas Blueprint

    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.

  • Cornell University Study - Shale gas worse than coal

    Some new information about shale gas environmental impacts was recently released. Read the Cornell University study,  Methane and the Greenhouse-Gas Footprint of Natural Gas
    from Shale Formations. This is important information for New Brunswickers to know during this time of discussion and debate around the development of the industry.

     Mnister of Environment, Margaret Ann Blaney, responds to the report in a CBC news article providing insight to NB government's stance on the issue.

  • Council of Canadians applauds Elsipogtog’s sovereignty declaration

    Press Release

    Council of Canadians, Fredericton Chapter

    Council of Canadians applauds Elsipogtog’s sovereignty declaration

    FREDERICTON – The Mi’kmaq Chief and council of Elsipogtog First Nations issued a statement on Tuesday vowing to protect our land, water, and air from mining companies like SWN Resources Canada. SWN Resources was also told by Chief and council to leave the province. The Maliseet Chief of Saint Mary’s First Nations concurred.

    “We proudly stand by our Aboriginal brothers and sisters on this issue,” says Julia Linke, member of the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

    “It is difficult to imagine how this could come as a surprise to anybody,” says Alma Brooks, Traditional Clan Mother Wolastoqiyik of the Wabanaki Confederacy.

    Next Monday, October 7th marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 states that lands not ceded to, by treaty or purchased by, the Crown, are reserved for First Nations.
    “The elected and hereditary leaders of Elsipogtog and the Signigtog district,” says Andrea Bear Nicholas, Retired Chair of Native Studies, St.Thomas University, “are therefore re-asserting their obligations as rightful stewards over Crown lands which they believe are continuously being mis-managed by Canada, the province, and corporations.”
    - 30 -
  • Council of Canadians stunned by Premier’s comments on consultation with Indigenous Peoples

     Press Release

    Council of Canadians,                                                                           24 October 2013

    Fredericton Chapter

    Council of Canadians stunned by Premier’s comments on consultation with Indigenous Peoples

    FREDERICTON– The Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians is stunned by Premier Alward’s comments suggesting that adequate consultations have taken place between his government and Indigenous Peoples on the issue of shale gas.

    “That is not what I heard at a meeting last night with members of the Wabanaki Confederacy which included Harry Laporte, Grand Chief of the Maliseet First Nation,” says Dr. Jean Louis Deveau, Chair, Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

    Deveau, who completed his doctoral studies on the duty to consult and accommodate persons with disabilities in the workplace, believes that Premier Alward is misleading New Brunswickers on this issue.

    “Not only does our government have to consult Indigenous Peoples about shale gas,” says Deveau, but it also has to accommodate their concerns, as outlined by the Supreme Court of Canada”

    “Besides, says Deveau, “if proper consultations had taken place, why would the Mik’maq and the Maliseet of this province along with their allies have blockaded thumper trucks two summers in a row?”

    The Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians believes that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) cannot be done safely, and is calling for a ban on the practice in New Brunswick.


    Communiqué de presse en français

    - 30 -

  • Déclaration de l’AAGSNB concernant le discours du Trône de M. Higgs

    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 ».

    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



    Le 27 novembre 2012


    Le gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick a accordé, gratuitement et sans consultation publique,et avant d’en avoir obtenu le consentement des Premières Nations, des licences permettant l’exploration du gaz de schiste sur 1,5 millions d’hectares de terres de la province, contrevenant ainsi à la Déclaration de 2007 des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones; et

    Le taux de rupture de tubage des puits, au cours de deux décennies, s’est situé entre 2 et 8 %, atteignant même 50 %, l’extraction du gaz de schiste par la méthode de la fracturation hydraulique constitue un risque inacceptable pour les puits d’eau potable, la couche aquifère, les lacs et cours d’eau, sans compter que cette industrie consomme des millions de gallons d’eau douce transformée en un produit résiduaire devant être traité avant d’être rejeté dans le milieu naturel; et

    Le processus de fracturation utilisé par l’industrie du gaz de schiste libère des fluides toxiques tels que du benzène, du carburant diésel, du kérosène, de la naphtalène et de l’antigel qui s’infiltrent dans l’eau par des fuites et des déversements et dans l’air par des émissions fugitives et la ventilation, mettant ainsi en péril les résidents de la province,les animaux d’élevage et les espèces sauvages, ainsi qu’une agriculture et des bassins hydrologiques essentiels; et

    Les collectivités où des activités de fracturation hydraulique ont eu lieu ont eu à faire face à des explosions, des incendies, des déversements, de la contamination de cours d’eau et de puits, ce qui a causé un risque accru pour les services d’incendie composés de bénévoles, les fournisseurs de soins de santé et de services de mesures d’urgence; et

    L’extraction du gaz de schiste à grande échelle et la mise en place des infrastructuresnécessaires à son activité -routes, plateformes de forage, canalisations, stations de compression - de même que la circulation d’équipement lourd, entraînant bruit, poussière et émissions, affectera la valeur des propriétés et augmentera le fardeau fiscal des Néo-Brunswickois, eux qui n’auront pourtant pas consenti aux activités de cette industrie;


    En 2011, environ 20 000 Néo-Brunswickois ont signé une pétition demandant de bannir l’octroi de permis pour l’extraction du gaz de schiste et l’extraction du gaz de schiste au Nouveau-Brunswick;

    En novembre 2011, un sondage de CBC auprès de 1 800 Néo-Brunswickois indiquait que pour 80 % des répondants, les questions environnementales étaient plus importantes que les revenus que pourrait générer la fracturation hydraulique,que 74 % souhaitaient qu’on mette fin à l’exploration par fracturation hydraulique et que 61 % désiraient que la fracturation hydraulique soit interdite;

    Le rapport de M. Louis LaPierre (Ph.D.) publié en octobre 2012, La voie de l’avenir, ne reflète pas la volonté des gens telle qu’ils l’ont exprimée lors des assemblées publiques tenues en 2012 et que de plus, ces assemblées publiques n’ont pas fourni à M. LaPierre de preuves pour appuyer une opinion, à savoir si un moratoire sur le développement du gaz de schiste était justifié ou non;

    Le rapport de la DreEilishCleary publié en septembre 2012 et intitulé Recommandations du médecin-hygiéniste en chef sur l’exploitation du gaz de schiste au Nouveau-Brunswickmentionne les paramètres nombreux et coûteux qui doivent être mis en place pour évaluer les impacts de la fracturation hydraulique sur la santé humaine avant que toute activité de fracturation n’ait lieu;

    Le Nouveau-Brunswick ne s’est pas doté d’une Charte des droits environnementaux qui reconnaîtrait l’eau comme un droit fondamental et garantirait à ses citoyens et à ceux des Premières Nations le droit à un environnement sain, comprenant de l’eau propre, de l’air pur et des sols non contaminés.

    Les prévisions de l’industrie du gaz de schiste par rapport aux emplois susceptibles d’être créés se sont avérées en général exagérées ailleurs, par exemple au Texas et que, de plus, les Néo-Brunswickois en général ne possèdent pas les habiletés et compétences recherchées par cette industrie, ce qui les confine à des emplois non spécialisés sur les sites de gaz de schiste;


    Qu’à la suite des objections émises par les populations, surtout par celles les plus directement touchées, la fracturation hydraulique a été bannie ou interdite dans plusieurs endroits dans le monde, avant tout à cause des son impact sur l’eau; et

    Que pour mettre en place les infrastructures nécessaires à cette industrie, il faudra procéder à des coupes à blanc, s’accommoder de la pollution par le bruit, incessant, et la lumière, qu’il y aura une augmentation de la circulation de camions et que des changements modifieront notre paysage à tout jamais, et que tout cela est incompatible avec des industries existantes comme la foresterie, la pêche, l’embauche de guides, l’agriculture, le tourisme, les activités récréatives qui toutes contribuent à l’économie du Nouveau-Brunswick; et

    Que des ressources qui pourraient être affectées au développement d’énergiesnon polluantes et renouvelables,comme l’énergie solaire, éolienne, géothermique, microcentrale hydrauliqueet autres ressources non destructives, seront utilisées pour se lancer dans l’extraction du gaz naturel – un combustible fossile qui contribue au réchauffement climatique –pour le libérer du shale dans lequel il est emprisonné; et

    Que des rencontres privées entre le gouvernement et des groupes de l’industrie, défrayées par les contribuables, telles que la Conférence Exploration et exploitation minière et pétrolière au Nouveau-Brunswick 2012 qui a eu lieu à Fredericton du 4 au 6 novembre 2012, ont pour effet de décourager les Néo-Brunswickoisde s’exprimer contre le développement du combustible fossile et d’empêcher d’autres solutions de se développer et de se réaliser.


    Que le gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick entreprenne dès aujourd’hui un programme de réorientation destiné à réduire la consommation totale d’énergie, à promouvoir l’efficacité énergétique et à choisir des sources d’énergie renouvelables de préférence à des sources épuisables, et ce, en transférant toutes les subventions du charbon aux ressources durables et renouvelables, et en les augmentant; et

    Que la production et la livraison de l’énergie soient repensées de manière à répondre aux besoins de la population du Nouveau-Brunswick, et non pour que notre énergie soit exportée ou gérée par des intérêts transnationaux ou contrôlée par la consommation industrielle, et

    Que l’on favorise des solutions de rechange durables, à plus petite échelle et provenant d’ici. Ce revirement exige d’interdire immédiatement tout forage de schiste et en général d’interdire l’extraction des hydrocarbures par des méthodes non éprouvées qui présentent trop de risques pour l’environnement et la santé; et

    Que le gouvernement engage un dialogue sérieux et constructif avec les intervenants sociaux et environnementaux afin de dresser une liste de toutes les possibilités à exploiter, en tenant compte de la dette et du déficit de la province, afin d’éliminer une fois pour toutes le gaz de schiste comme unique solution; et

    Que le gouvernement accepte que la population du Nouveau-Brunswick exerce son droit à la désobéissance civile pour s’opposer à la destruction de son environnement, et pour protéger ses moyens de survie, sa qualité de vie et sa santé; et

    Que le gouvernement donne la priorité à l’adoption d’une déclaration des droits environnementaux, enchâssant ainsi les droits des citoyens à de l’air pur, à de l’eau propre et à des terres non contaminées, pour le bien des générations actuelles et futures.

    Signéeen ce 27e jour de novembre 2012
  • Ditching fossil fuels is like a ‘monkey trap’

    Ditching fossil fuels is like a ‘monkey trap’

    The Daily Gleaner, Tuesday, January 28, 2020

    A recent Brunswick News Commentary wondered how bad must things get before the concept of ‘climate emergency’ gets traction.

    One depressing answer may be found in the title of a widely circulated NYTimes editorial: “Australia Is Committing Climate Suicide.”

    The continuing unimaginable conflagration of Australian bushfires has already burned an area much larger than New Brunswick, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed over a billion animals.

    Decades will pass before knowing how many human lives will be lost or shortened by exposure to the world’s worst air pollution. An air quality index (AQI) above 200 is defined as hazardous. The AQI in Canberra has hit 4,650.

    Climate scientists have long predicted such events, as the conditions that created them are well-studied climate topics.

    While droughts and heat waves are normal, climate warming increases the odds of their occurrence, their duration, and their intensity. A continually warming Australia experienced its hottest and driest year in 2019. Average temperatures in the 40’s have baked the entire continent for weeks. Altered weather patterns push normal rains out to the ocean.

    Yet, despite scientists’ warnings, years of increasingly destructive weather, and the current catastrophe, Australia plans to expand its world-leading exports of coal and liquid natural gas (LNG).

    Perhaps, the country does have a psychotic death wish. Maybe it’s contagious.

    In the USA, 100, 500 and 1000-year floods are meaningless, as they occur regularly. While the southwest faces water shortages, the central breadbasket remained flooded for months. California’s fire season is now year-round. Coasts are threatened by tropical depressions that turn into monster hurricanes within a day.

    America’s response? Promote coal and frack as much gas and oil as possible.

    Canada watches record fires burn BC, Ft. McMurray, and boreal forests. Extreme temperatures and precipitation and record flooding are the norm. Canada is warming at twice the global rate, and three times as fast in our north, where melting ice and permafrost lead to abandoned settlements and climate refugees.

    Yet, several provinces stake their futures on huge new tarsands and LNG projects. The federal government, while shouting climate emergency warnings, inexplicably abets these expansions.

    Maybe a mass psychosis has seized these countries. But, perhaps, there is a better explanation - the classic ’monkey trap’.

    A monkey trap is an immovable trap, with a hole just large enough for a monkey's open hand. It is baited with a banana. A monkey grabs the banana, but the hole is not large enough to allow the monkey to withdraw its clenched fist (now clutching a banana).

    Because the monkey can’t conceive of letting the banana go, it remains trapped, awaiting its fate.

    It is the perfect analogy for humanity’s current situation. We cannot escape our trap (climate emergency), because we can’t conceive of giving up the banana (fossil fuels), even though doing so is our only means of escape.

    There is absolutely no doubt about the climate trap. All the recent climate disasters resulted from less than 1.5-degrees warming - considered the ‘safe’ limit.

    Our current fossil fuel usage puts us on track for 3 to 5 degree warming. At 3 degrees, Australian-like catastrophes become normal.

    2019 ended the hottest decade on both land and in the ocean. No one born after 1985 has experienced a month cooler than the 20th century average.

    Coal, and the energy intensive processes of fracking, LNG and tarsands produce more greenhouse gases than conventional oil and gas, and make the USA, Australia and Canada the word’s largest per capita contributors to climate change.

    Despite knowing this, they still can’t conceive of letting them go.

    Supposedly, a monkey isn’t intelligent enough to understand how its trap works. Is it conceivable that we, likewise, lack the intellect or imagination to envision a life without fossil fuels?

    Or is it something more distinctly human? Are we so tied to greed, convenient habits, or misbegotten ideology that we cannot act to save ourselves?

    We have a simple choice. Let go of the banana, or remain trapped. Nothing else will save us.

    New Brunswick’s record floods, tropical storms, hurricanes, ice storms, and windstorms are becoming the norm. Each costs millions and affects our health, lives and livelihoods.

    Our government has finally begun taking small steps to address the climate crisis. Hydro-electricity from Quebec to replace coal-fired Belledune is a good idea, as is regional cooperation. The Ministers of Environment and Energy tout their climate awareness in plans to use carbon-pricing revenue for climate action programs.

    Yet, immediately upon hearing that a complicated investment deal might restart a local shale gas industry - an industry that supercharges climate warming - the Minister of Energy boasted how his Department had made it possible.

    Congratulations! Have a banana! They’re irresistible.

    The fossil fuels we have all profited from now threaten our existence. If you believe that we can gradually let them go, because we are superior to monkeys, let your leaders know. Act for our children instead of quietly awaiting fate.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

  • Dr. Anthony Ingraffea To Speak In Moncton On November 30th and In Hampton December 1st


    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
  • Economic fear mongering is alive and well

    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. 
  • Evidence Supports a Shale Gas Moratorium, Times and Transcript

    Jim Emberger Commentary

    The Opposition Energy Critic says that the discontinuation of the Energy Institute will stop the examination of the science surrounding shale gas. Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault says that New Brunswick’s shale commission could approve development. Neither of these two political smokescreens reflects the actual rigorous scientific examinations of shale gas occurring elsewhere.

    Lengthy and exhaustive reviews have recently been completed in four jurisdictions. All those jurisdictions then enacted bans or moratoria.

    New Brunswickers know that our neighbours, Quebec and Nova Scotia, passed lasting moratoria following their reviews. The state of Maryland just enacted an additional two-and-a-half-year moratorium based on a review conducted by their highly regarded university system’s public health school.

    But the most thorough review was undertaken by the state of New York. It had already declared a moratorium based on a previous public health review. Last week, after completing a ‘seven-year’ Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), they essentially banned shale development. All these jurisdictions reached similar conclusions, but New York’s extraordinary effort deserves quoting.

    The EIS concluded that the scientific evidence showed:

    “Significant uncertainty remains regarding the level of risk to public health and the environment that would result from permitting high-volume hydraulic fracturing.”

    “In fact, the uncertainty regarding the potential significant adverse environmental and public health impacts has been growing over time.”

    “Significant uncertainty remains regarding the degree of effectiveness of proposed mitigation measures.”

    In other words, there are many serious risks needing much more study, the number and severity of the risks is continually increasing, and the effectiveness of mitigation and control efforts are questionable.

    Most of the hundreds of scientific papers supporting these conclusions about risk can be found in two places and are periodically updated:

    A Compendium by the Concerned Health Professionals of NY. ( con  cernedhealthny.org  ).

    Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy. ( pse  healthyenergy.org  ).

    Since these reviews, alarming studies covering health effects, wastewater disposal, water well contamination, air pollution, radon, and earthquakes continue to appear weekly.

    One such comes from medical research about ‘endocrine disruptors.’ These are chemicals that in miniscule quantities act on the body’s hormone system, causing developmental, immune system and reproductive diseases. Children and pregnant women are particularly at risk.

    A new review of the science about them concluded,“Many of the air and water pollutants found near (Unconventional Oil and Gas) operation sites are recognized as being developmental and reproductive toxicants, and therefore there is a compelling need to increase our knowledge of the potential health consequences for adults, infants, and children from these chemicals.” ( www.degruyter.com  ).

    Another study found that several endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly used in gas production caused disease at a tiny fraction of the levels considered ‘safe’ by current standards. It also found that levels of these chemicals in the“air near oil and gas development can be orders of magnitude higher than exposures for which we found health effects.”( pubs.acs.  org  ) As to the questionable effectiveness of mitigation efforts, the Council of Canadian Academies already noted that neither the government nor industry adequately monitor shale development. Therefore, without scientific data, no jurisdiction can claim its ‘world-class’ regulations are based on science. Industry-defined ‘best practices’ are not scientific guarantees of safety or effectiveness.

    The clear trends in the scientific review of shale gas are the increased identification of risks, and the resulting increase in bans and moratoriums. The few studies that our Energy Institute could complete in our one-year moratorium would have little effect on trends based on hundreds of studies. The Institute’s reputable scientists deserve thanks for doing some worthwhile baseline studies, but existing departments such as Environment and Health can direct such research.

    The Institute had a problem beyond its ethically questionable founding by the former PC government and the now discredited Dr. LaPierre. If it had been intended to be an ‘Energy’institute, its mandate would have been to examine all energy options and help choose the best one, rather than to simply make shale gas palatable to the citizenry.

    Our current Commission,staffed by volunteers,with only a travel budget and a less-than- one-year window,will work in the shadows of jurisdictions who conducted multi-year reviews with paid researchers,multi-million dollar budgets, and extensive human resources.

    It is almost inconceivable that our Commission could reach a different conclusion. To contradict the now well-established scientific evidence of unacceptable risk, it would require truly extraordinarily difficult public explanations and levels of proof.


    Jim Emberger is the spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.

    Please see a correction and apology on page A2.

    Correction and apology

    A June 12 letter to the editor questioned the truthfulness and motivations of Jim Emberger, spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, including an assertion that his is a paid position.In fact,Mr.Emberger is a volunteer. Further,we have no information that Mr. Emberger has been untruthful.

    We regret these statements were published unchecked, and apologize to Mr. Emberger.

    In addition, the original opinion piece to which the letter was responding was not published by the Times and Transcript. It should have been. That opinion piece appears today on page A9.

 © 2018 NBEN / RENB