• First Response to NB Business Council Report on Shale Gas

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


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

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

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

    On the questionnaire and subsequent conclusions:

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

    On the supporting data:

    The report uses some outdated data to support some of its statements.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

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

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

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


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


    The Conclusions:

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

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

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

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


    Regulatory review:

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

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

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

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

    Road repair paid for by companies?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Media Contacts:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Personnes-ressources pour les médias :


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

    Terry Wishart
    506 238 4001
    t.wishart@banfrackingnb.ca
  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        PRESS RELEASE                        APRIL 3, 2012

    FREDERICTON SHALE GAS PARADE LAUNCHES MUNICIPAL BLUE RIBBON CAMPAIGN

    Fredericton, N.B., Canada - The movement against shale gas development is moving into the municipalities. Citizens in Fredericton are asking their municipal candidates for Mayor and Councilors to take a stand on protecting the city’s air and water.  To launch this election initiative, a parade of cars and trucks, followed by bicycles and pedestrians, will travel through downtown Fredericton this Thursday, April 5th at 12 noon.

    People will gather at the parking lot beside the Old Burial Grounds at 51 Woodstock Road. The action will begin at 12 noon. The route will proceed down King Street, around the New Brunswick Legislature, and then up Queen Street to Fredericton City Hall. Vehicles and people will be decked out in blue balloons, blue ribbons, blue streamers, blue water jugs, and lots of signs. This parade will be the official launch of the Blue Ribbon Campaign here in Fredericton.

    The Blue Ribbon Campaign is a grassroots action that is spreading to villages, towns, and cities across New Brunswick. With the growing enthusiasm of this campaign, organizers foresee similar actions throughout New Brunswick during the lead-up to municipal elections. The colour blue symbolizes that citizens will be voting for the Mayor and Councilor candidates who include in their platform a Ban or Moratorium on shale gas development.  On May 14th we will be voting for change.  Elected representatives and candidates will be invited to join the parade and publicly demonstrate that they will stand up to protect our air and water.

    “The cost to human health, our air and water, our global climate, and our local economy are simply too great to remain quiet. Regulations are unable to protect us from the certainty of air pollution in the low-lying valley of Fredericton. And the aquifer from which we draw our drinking water extends far outside the Fredericton city limits into large tracts of shale gas exploration areas”, says Fredericton resident Sarah Boucher. “It is time for health and business organizations, churches, and politicians to speak up and join the largest grassroots movement that New Brunswick has ever seen.”

    “Politics has no place in human health and safety. Almost all municipalities in New Brunswick have not taken an official stand on shale gas.  Pressure from citizens has caused Minto, Hampton, Sackville, and Sussex Corner to hold Council votes and all four now have a moratorium or ban in place. It is time for Fredericton to do the same”, says Fredericton resident Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy.

    Low turnout in most municipal elections means that seats can be won or lost by only a few hundred votes or less. Many seats are won by acclamation.  In the last Quadrennial Municipal Elections on May 12, 2008, the average voter turnout was forty-eight percent for contested municipal and rural community elections (a low of twenty-eight percent and a high of seventy-seven percent).  One hundred and seventy candidates (170) ran for one hundred and four mayoral (104) positions; Eight hundred and eighty-nine (889) candidates ran for five hundred and thirty-seven (537) council positions; Fifty-three (53) mayors and one hundred and ten (110) councilors were elected by acclamation.

    “Let's put our local councilors on notice that they need to speak up and protect our air and water,” says organizer Mark D’Arcy. “Election date is May 14, 2012.”

    Media Contacts:

     

    Mark D’Arcy
    Tel. 506 454 5119
    markandcaroline@gmail.com

     

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

  • October 11, 2011 Hampton NB -- Hampton Town Council received a standing ovation this evening after they voted unanimously to reject Windsor Energy’s request to allow thumper trucks to conduct seismic testing within town limits.

    Thanksgiving dinner plans with families were interrupted for many Hampton residents on Sunday when geophone equipment used for seismic testing was discovered along a lengthy stretch of Highway One, including within the Town of Hampton and Town of Quispamsis limits. The thumper trucks were also parked nearby and were set to go.

    Windsor Energy previously made a request to Hampton Town Council to allow thumper trucks within town limits. They were notified council would make a decision at their regular council meeting this evening. Permission had not been granted by the town, yet the company appeared ready to start seismic testing without the required approval.

    Hampton residents quickly organized a peaceful demonstration at the Town of Hampton – It’s Our Nature sign on Highway One this afternoon. Approximately 70 people participated in the demonstration to show Windsor Energy they did not have permission to conduct seismic testing. During the demonstration, protestors received word the company had decided not to “thump” the section of highway going through Hampton.

    However seismic testing did take place along Highway One within Quispamsis Town limits on Monday without their councilors or mayor’s knowledge or permission.

    Hampton Council Chambers were overflowing this evening with town residents concerned about seismic testing taking place within their community. Carl Wolpin from the group Hampton Water First, addressed council to thank them for supporting the moratorium on shale gas exploration at the recent provincial meeting of New Brunswick Municipalities. This was met with a standing ovation and drawn out applause from those in attendance.

    Council member Peter Behr moved that Windsor Energy’s request be denied stating that he received a great deal of feedback from community residents. Not a single person he spoke with was supportive of seismic testing. He went on to say that since he was elected to represent the people, it was the right thing to deny the request. The motion was quickly seconded. One of the councilors noted that although they do not have control over what happens in the rest of the province, they do have control over what happens within Hampton town limits.

     

    Contact:  Hampton Water First

     

    Carl Wolpin:  crwolpin@xplornet.com  832-7827

     

    Chris Rendell:  appsolca@yahoo.ca 832-4660

  • Based on a report out of Hampton, seimic 'thumper' trucks were spotted on Highway #1 past marker 143 earlier this afternoon. They were last seen traveling in an eastwardly direction. Local residents and leaders from the region met later to discuss the presence of the vehicles. They ask friends and other citizens to be aware of the current situation on the highway outside of town and to begin building support against the intrusion of the shale and natural gas industries into their community and throughout our province.

    On Tuesday October 11 at 3:30 pm there will be a peaceful demonstration at the Hampton sign "It's Our Nature" one km before the Hampton exit on the Saint John side.  No cars will be blocked and all actions will keep within the law.  Everyone who can make it is invited to join us in solidarity.  PLEASE let any media connections know.

  • How low is the Alward Government prepared to stoop?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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 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”

       • and“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 at http://bit.
    ly/1t8E2bo

       • Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy at http://bit.
    ly/1QbOtdD

       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 minuscule 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 ( http://bit.ly/1yqfJvj
    ) 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.”

       Another study ( http://bit.ly/1CMad
    kk ) 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.”

       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, multimillion-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 a spokesman for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.



  • Public Release

    Q. Why this protest?

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

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

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

    Q. Are there other concerns?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And if they already are, then there are hundreds of fellow citizens that feel the same way. Knowing that someone else has the same views you do and is experiencing the same outrage as you is an extremely empowering experience. Come and walk with us!
  • JIM EMBERGER COMMENTARY

    July 24, 2018  Telegraph Journal, Daily Gleaner, Times Transcript

    It was gratifying to see a recent article acknowledging that climate change has already changed our weather, and that weather-related problems will become ever more frequent and severe (“Not... our grandparents’ weather, July 14, A2).

    In the piece, a senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, David Phillips, laid out in no-nonsense terms that New Brunswickers will be challenged to adapt to our increasingly confused climate.

    Warnings and good advice about adapting are a necessary discussion, but the real conversation we need to be having on climate change is about preventing the growing threats from a changed climate.

    It’s not as if there is some mysterious force wrecking the climate, with nothing we can do besides learning to live with it. Rather, it is undeniable that the climate-change culprit is our burning of fossil fuels, and the way to slow climate damage is to simply burn fewer of them.

    This elementary and obvious policy solution, however, seems impossible for some to publicly acknowledge. Perhaps, that’s because once you acknowledge a fact, then you must act on that knowledge even if it is uncomfortable.

    Mr. Phillips could have painted an even darker picture. Numerous studies show the climate is changing faster than originally thought and will result in an even hotter world. This past month’s global heat wave shattered temperature records worldwide, often by double digits. Fifty-four people died in Quebec as a result of the heat wave.

    It’s a foreshadowing that should focus our minds, much like the record-breaking floods in New Brunswick. Adaptation to such catastrophes will certainly be necessary, but there are limits to adaptation, especially if conditions continually get worse.

    How many times can you raise the height of a dike, seawall or house on stilts? For trees destroyed by tropical storms, ice storms, warmer temperatures and an ever-growing list of invasive species, it’s too late to adapt.

    And when it’s too hot to work (or even exist) outdoors, adaptation has reached its end, as it is already has in some places. The only long-term solution is to keep conditions from getting worse, and that means reducing our use of fossil fuels.

    Recently, I asked Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs how his plans to lift the moratorium on fracking and promote a shale gas industry fit into plans to combat climate change. It was actually a trick question, because there is only one answer: To slow climate change we cannot exploit any new fossil fuels, and we must leave much of what we have already discovered in the ground.

    This reality now drives global economic trends, which cast doubt on the wisdom of any new fossil fuel investments.

    New studies predict that the plunging cost of renewable energy, advances in battery storage, electric vehicles and energy-efficiency measures will reduce the demand for fossil fuels so significantly that $1 trillion dollars of fossil fuel infrastructure will become worthless by 2035.

    If governments act to reduce emissions as well, the losses grow to $4 trillion dollars and the timetable is shortened by years.

    The U.S. and Canada would be the biggest losers in this scenario because they produce the most expensive fossil fuels – fracked oil and gas, and oil sands. New Brunswick is fortunate to not have much existing unconventional fossil fuel infrastructure at risk.

    But the Atlantica Centre for Energy and Encana claim that now is the time to build a shale gas infrastructure, because current supplies from Nova Scotia will soon run out, leaving 8,600 buildings without gas.

    The obvious rebuttal to this argument is to simply buy gas from elsewhere. But an even better answer is that most gas customers can switch to cleaner sources of energy, which they will eventually have to do anyway. The government and NB Power could even assist in their transition, as part of climate, innovation and energy-efficiency programs.

    In any case, New Brunswick has 319,773 private dwellings and 30,164 businesses. Simple math shows that 8,600 gas-using buildings make up only two per cent of the total. This hardly makes a case for undertaking the huge financial, health and environmental risks of building a new shale gas industry.

    Ireland and Scotland also have fracking moratoriums. Ireland just decided to disinvest all government funds from fossil fuel projects, and Scotland is debating whether to even accept fracked gas from other countries.

    Canada, however, remains among the world’s top three contributors to climate change on a per person basis, due to the high greenhouse gas emissions of our unconventional fossil fuel industries.

    Surely, our New Brunswick moratorium makes the moral statement that “we” at least won’t make things worse for our children, the world and ourselves.

    Keeping the moratorium not only protects us from fracking’s many threats to our health and the environment. It also helps slow climate change, and keeps us from making an unnecessary and seriously self-destructive fiscal decision.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NoShaleGasNB.ca).
  • [Letter to Editor, The Daily Gleaner October 26 2012]

    LaPierre Report Is More Opinion Than Science

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

    Garth Hood
    Fredericton

  • New Post from New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

    Let’s close the door on shale gas development once and for all

    Commentary by Jim Emberger (Fredericton Gleaner, Nov 23, 2016) We applaud the Gallant government’s decision to amend the Clean Environment Act to ban the disposal of fracking wastewater in municipal and provincial sewage treatment systems.    The scientific studies behind the decision have long noted that municipal wastewater systems were not…

    Read more …

  • August 2, 2013

    Noel Augustine, Geptin

    Mi’kmaq Grand Council

    Signigtog District,

    New Brunswick

    Dear Geptin Augustine:

    We the undersigned community groups stand with you in serving this Notice of Eviction to SWN Resources Canada and any subsidiary company or contractor engaged in shale gas exploration or development in the Territory of Signigtog.

    The government of New Brunswick has acted all along in a unilateral, undemocratic manner. It has made no attempt to consult with your people. It has ignored your declarations, your rights and titles.

    It has refused to listen to the grassroots movement which gains ground every day. It has refused to make a health risk assessment even though its Chief Medical Officer has strongly suggested one. It ignores the compelling evidence that unconventional shale gas mining threatens our health, our environment and the well being of future generations.

    But though the government of New Brunswick acts as if we do not exist, it works hand in glove with Southwestern Energy Company (SWN). Its latest gesture of goodwill gave this company permission to test across our wetlands and watercourse buffers in eight counties.

    Under these circumstances when democratic processes are cast aside, when we are being forced to choose between hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas and health, it is an honour to stand with you and your people.

    In Solidarity we are:

    Conservation Council of NB

    Council of Canadians, Fredericton

    Council of Canadians, Saint John

    Darlings Island Nauwigewauk Fracking Intervention

    New Brunswickers Against Fracking

    Friends of Mt. Carelton

    Friends of the UNB Woodlot

    Memramcook Action

    New Brunswickers Against Fracking

    Tantramar Alliance Against Hydro-Fracking

    Upriver Environment Watch

    Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County

  • Hon. David Alward

    Premier of New Brunswick

    PO Box 6000

    Fredericton, NB

    E3B 5H1

    September 19, 2013

    Dear Premier Alward:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

               

    Sincerely,

    Rev. Mary Wanamaker

    For Saint John and Area KAIROS

  • Attention: The New Brunswick Hydraulic Fracturing Commission

    Ancient Voices

    We are totally dependent on the Earth for life, and because of the arrogance of a superiority attitude, western society is headed in the wrong direction. As a consequence, climate change is here and people are in a panic. Grandchildren are asking, “What will happen to me?”

    What 200 year old prophesies said has now come to pass. People have disobeyed the natural laws of the universe, and are stubbornly determined to ignore the voices of reason and truth. The Earth governs all life here, and she will have no mercy.

    The Wolastokewinobk (Maliseet Grand Council) is the traditional decision-making structure of the Wolastokewiyik - the people of the beautiful river. We are the river people, indigenous to the entire St. John River watershed. Our Grand Council is made up of our clans, from the oldest to the youngest. We send these words to your commission on behalf of our extended families, as well as the deer, the moose, birds, fishes, and all other living things within our traditional territories. Our lands and waters have never been ceded or surrendered, therefore we are still the title holders.

    Canada, New Brunswick and big business have and continue to exploit and expropriate our traditional lands and resources amounting to categorical infringement on our right to use our land and hunt, fish, and gather. Currently the following industries are infringing on our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights:
    • All attempts to further the industry of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in our territory must stop immediately.
    First of all our people have not been adequately consulted, and in fact we have been abused and punished for taking a stand to protect our sacred lands and waters. Secondly, traditional stories in our language tell us of a time when there was great flooding on the river and the reversing falls was caused by an ancient earthquake. There is also historical evidence of major fault lines through the centre of our territory from earlier earth quakes which is what caused salt water lakes to form all the way up to central parts of the Province of New Brunswick. It is well known that ‘fracking’ causes earthquakes to happen, because of the lubricated, chemically laced cocktail that is pumped into the ground under extremely high pressure. There is too much of a risk to allow fracturing to take place here and we do not support this destructive industry. We request that you to put a stop to this detrimental activity in our homeland.
    • The Irving Forestry Companies have not only clear cut our forests, they are also spraying poisonous carcinogenic herbicides such as glyphosate all over ‘our land,’ to kill hardwood trees, and other green vegetation. Both human and animal health is at serious risk, not to mention leaving no food for the animals.
    Streams, brooks and creeks are drying up, causing the dwindling of Atlantic salmon and trout. Places where our people gather medicines, hunt deer and moose are being contaminated with poison. We were not warned about the use of these dangerous herbicides, but then cancer rates have been on the rise in Maliseet communities, especially breast cancers in women and younger people are dying from cancer.
    • Open Pit Mining for tungsten and molybdenum is another infringement on the rights of our people – archeology shows that our people have been there around 7000 years – the oldest period found in the heart of New Brunswick.
    This is Maliseet traditional territory and we have not been consulted. Open pit mines require tailing ponds, this one designated to be the largest in the world. It is well known that all tailing ponds have a high probability to breach their bounds, and definitely will seep out into the environment. A spill or leak from the Sisson Brook open pit mine will permanently contaminate the Nashwaak River, which is a tributary of the Wolastok (St. John River) and surrounding waterways. This is the only place left clean enough for the survival of the Atlantic salmon.
    • Oil pipelines and refineries are also among the current abominable schemes, bent on contaminating and destroying the very last inch of (Wblastokok) Maliseet territory.
    The above mentioned industries are just another layer of infringements on the aboriginal and treaty rights of the Wolastokewiyik. Rivers, lakes, streams, and lands have been contaminated already to the point that we are unable to gather our annual supply of fiddleheads, and medicines. This territory has never been ceded or surrendered by our people – yet not an inch of our land has been spared for our traditional use. Government and industry blindly and carelessly proceed to exploit and misappropriate Indigenous lands and resources to the point of extreme damage and destruction, and continue to ignored the concerns and protests of Indigenous peoples in New Brunswick.

    The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that all levels of government have a “duty to consult with aboriginal people” prior to the beginning of any project, or any other kind of land use, that would cause an infringement on the Indigenous rights of our people.

    The Wolastokewiyik (Maliseet People) - the Title Holders - have not been consulted on any of the above projects. Therefore governments and/or companies do not have our consent to proceed with hydro-fracturing, open pit mining, or the building of pipelines for gas and oil bitumen, on or across our traditional lands and waters.

    The duty to consult has become a meaningless process. Companies meet with INAC Chiefs, who’s jurisdiction is limited to within each of their respective reserves. Individuals are given a power point presentation, and then told the next step is accommodation. Question: then to the chief - What do you want?

    The majority of the people do not go to these meetings due to the manipulation of the process, and the lack of regard for collective rights. Collective rights require collective discussion and collective decision-making. The closest interpretation of our treaty and aboriginal right to consultation is written in international law: Free, Prior and informed consent.

    In conclusion, humans are supposed to be responsible and intelligent beings, who were given instruction on how to live on the earth.

    One of the oldest teachings about how to live on the land – “ wihkwelan tehpo eli powalbkw wblam keti sepowsowipbn” itbm Kelowbskap.” Take only what you need in order to live. Maintaining the balance of nature is the way to live on the earth. Arrogance is why we are going in the wrong direction. If we do not follow the spiritual laws of the universe, nature will take over. There will be no mercy in nature, only law.

    It is the Earth that governs life here – all life comes from the earth. You can have no value for resources that have been stolen. Greed, selfishness, and foolishness have taken over, and they have no value at all for life. Why else have become the enemy of the earth?

    Business as usual is over. Oil and Carbon is over. We will pay for damages by what is coming. Economies will be wrecked. If we continue to disregard the laws of nature the Earth will bring about the balance herself, through diseases, crisis events – etc. We have to change the way of living.

    Sincerely,

    Alma H. Brooks
    Grandmother, The Maliseet Grand Council

    October 15, 2015
  • 2 Août 2013

    Noel Augustine, Geptin

    Grand conseil des Mi’kmaq

    District de Signigtog,

    Nouveau-Brunswick

     

    Cher Geptin Augustine,

    Nous, les groupes communautaires soussignés, appuyons votre présentation d’un avis d’expulsion à SWN Resources Canada et à toutes ses compagnies subsidiaires ou entrepreneurs impliqués dans l’exploration ou l’extraction des gaz de schiste dans le territoire Signigtog.

    Le gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick a agi d’une façon unilatérale et antidémocratique. Il n’a fait aucun effort pour consulter votre peuple. Il n’a pas tenu compte de vos déclarations, de vos droits et de vos titres fonciers.

    Il a refusé d’écouter le mouvement populaire qui prend de l’ampleur chaque jour. Il a refusé d’entreprendre une évaluation des risques pour la santé même si le médecin hygiéniste en chef l’avait fortement suggéré. Il ignore les preuves accablantes que l’extraction non conventionnelle des gaz de schiste menace notre santé, notre environnement et le bienêtre des futures générations.

    Mais, bien que le gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick agisse comme si nous n’existions pas, il travaille main dans la main avec la Southwestern Energy Company (SWN). Son dernier geste de bonne volonté a consisté à accorder la permission de forer dans nos terres humides et dans les zones tampons de nos cours d’eau dans huit comtés.

    Compte tenu de ces circonstances où les processus démocratiques sont carrément mis à l’écart et que nous nous voyons forcés de choisir entre l’extraction des gaz et du pétrole par fracturation hydraulique ou notre santé, c’est pour nous un honneur de vous appuyer personnellement et soutenir les revendications de votre peuple.

    Solidaires avec vous :

    Conservation Council of NB

    Council of Canadians, Fredericton

    Council of Canadians, Saint John

    Darlings Island Nauwigewauk Fracking Intervention

    New Brunswickers Against Fracking

    Friends of Mt. Carelton

    Friends of the UNB Woodlot

    Memramcook Action

    New Brunswickers Against Fracking

    Tantramar Alliance Against Hydro-Fracking

    Upriver Environment Watch

    Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County

  • NB Groups Want The Provincial Government To Heed Their Message
    For Immediate Release
    September 16, 2011

    Moncton -- On Saturday, September 17, the anti-shale gas network of citizens have planned
    another march for New Brunswickers to say “NO!” to shale gas in the downtown core of
    Moncton.

    More than 2 dozen groups from around the province, from places like Cornhill, Sackville,
    Taymouth and Hampton, recently announced the network they’ve formed to stop shale gas
    development in New Brunswick, and their next step is to hold another rally to continue sending
    their message to the provincial government that the shale gas industry is not welcome here.

    This grassroots movement has committed itself to informing their fellow New Brunswickers of
    the dangers of shale gas. “It’s shameful that our government has not honestly engaged and
    informed its citizens of the dangers of this industry,” says Debra Hopper, a spokesperson for Our
    Environment, Our Choice, Notre Environnement, Notre Choix. “We have an intelligent group
    here. We have done our homework; now the government needs to do the same. It has been
    reading off of cheat sheets provided by industry. The same tired lines that we’re all sick of
    hearing. The people of New Brunswick have a right to know what we are really facing.”

    “We ask that our government do its job in protecting our life sustaining resources against an
    industry that is advancing at an accelerated rate and that threatens our quality of life for
    generations to come. Once the damages are done, there is no return,” says Patricia Léger,
    spokesperson for Memramcook Action. “We cannot expect industry to warn us of the dangers of
    this toxic method of extracting natural gas and our government seems to only be listening to
    industry.”

    In our ongoing effort to get the facts about the dangers of shale gas drilling out into the open, a
    second march is being held this time in Moncton.  It will begin at 12:00 noon at the Hal Betts
    Ball Fields – Moncton SportPlex, located at 250 Assomption Blvd at the corner of Vaughn
    Harvey. Protesters will march along Vaughn Harvey Blvd, and down Main Street before
    congregating at Moncton City Hall, next to SWN Offices.  We invite all water drinkers and air
    breathers to join us in our PEACEFUL display of democracy in action. 

    At City Hall, there will be speakers from various groups and communities from across the
    province, including the Youth Environmental Action Network, Elsipogtog First Nation, Friends
    of Mount Carleton, the Maliseet Grand Council, and Ban Fracking NB. 

    Media Contacts:
    Our Environment, Our Choice, Notre Envrionnement, Notre Choix, Denise Melanson: 523-9467
    Quality of Life Initiative, Otty Forgrave: 839-2326
    CCNB Action, Stephanie Merrill: 261-8317
    Ban Fracking NB, Terri Telasco: 866-7658
    New Brunswickers Against Fracking, Mary de La Valette: 369-1995
    Council of Canadians, St. John Chapter, Carol Ring: 847-0953
    Grand Lake Watershed Guardians, Amy Sullivan: 339-1980 or 339-5324
    Sierra Club Atlantic, Hazel Richardson: 452-8915

  • KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The Council of Canadians and its four New Brunswick chapters are calling on the Gallant government to recognize it has no choice but to extend the fracking moratorium, after the report it commissioned demonstrated that its five conditions for lifting the moratorium have not been met.

    “Based on the Commission’s report, the government of New Brunswick must commit to a legislated moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the province. All five conditions, including social licence, have not been met and will require a lot of work,” says Denise Melanson, Council of Canadians’ Kent County chapter media spokesperson. “To give the people of this province some peace of mind and some security, the government should close the book on this industry.”

    “We stand with our Indigenous allies including Ron Tremblay, Grand Chief of the Wolastoq Grand Council. This report clearly recognizes the constitutional duty to consult Indigenous peoples, highlighting a critical reason a legislated moratorium is needed,” says Maggie Connell, co-chair of the Council of Canadians’ Fredericton chapter.

    Angela Giles, the Council’s Atlantic Regional Organizer based in Halifax, added “The Commission report highlights the need for a transition to clean energy for New Brunswick’s future energy mix. Given the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, shale gas cannot be part of the future. We need to focus on real solutions to the climate crisis in New Brunswick and beyond.”

    Representatives from the Council of Canadians’ Fredericton and Kent County chapters attended the private briefing as well as the public release of the Commission’s report this morning in Fredericton.

    -30-

    The report is available on the NB Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing website.
  • 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
  • Moncton, NB (17 Sept 2014)

    New Brunswickers who are looking for the facts about shale gas are not getting them from the current political debate. They are often being deliberately misled or else are confused by politicians who don’t understand the issues, themselves. And they are definitely missing out on critical information.

    First, the economics.

    The numbers cited by our government appear to be picked from thin air, are baseless and are designed just for the election. Economists don’t see how they can work and the government will supply no supporting data.

    We have all heard David Alward claim that, by drilling a modest 50 wells per year, the province will earn $200 million in annual royalties. He does not say how he arrived at this figure. His math even baffles our province’s top economists.

    In British Columbia, they drilled thousands of wells to earn $200 million in royalties.

    New Brunswick currently has about 50 producing gas and oil wells. The total royalties average roughly $1 million per year. One million is an awfully long way from $200 million. We earn more than a million from our gravel and sand industry.

    New Brunswick’s university economists have analyzed the current royalty scheme. They say these are the lowest royalty rates in North America and that it is highly doubtful that New Brunswickers will gain any significant profits. They say it is an inefficient, overexploitation of our resource. The government has dropped their earlier plan to share royalties with those municipalities and landowners who would be bearing the risk of shale gas.

    The PC party must also further justify their estimates on job creation per well.

    In four years, the only data they quote to support their job claims comes from the partially government-funded and widely disputed Deloitte report, a small and questionable survey that predicted a best-case scenario of 21 jobs per well.

    However, we have examined a number of detailed fiscal policy reports based on actual figures from places where shale gas is being produced. These show an average of 4 jobs per well, while being highly critical of predictive reports like the one from Deloitte.

    In New Brunswick, with our roughly 50 producing wells, we have less than a dozen ongoing full-time jobs.

    Our question is this: Why should we base our decision on estimates from a questionable survey, when there are real life examples and hard facts to draw upon?

    Shale gas is not the only way to bring New Brunswickers home and create jobs.

    Multiple reports actually show that the oil and gas sector produces far fewer jobs than any other energy-related industry. Retrofitting infrastructure for energy efficiency, alternative energy development and mass transit each create up to 8 times the number of jobs created by fossil fuels. These figures are based on real-life experience, not hopes.

    A clean economy requires the same skills that our people out west already have, and it fosters industries that would create career opportunities, retain college graduates, employ both genders, and save the existing jobs in our tourism and agriculture sectors that are now being threatened by shale gas.

    We also ask this: What is the long-term economic viability of this industry?

    The industry is a typical boom-bust venture that leaves communities worse off than they were. Its long-term viability is unproven.

    Recent figures from the Energy Information Agency (EIA), investment firms and financial analysts show that the industry is $100 billion dollars in debt. And 75% of its firms are rated as below investment grade (junk status). As a whole, the industry does not make any money from the sale of gas. It survives on borrowing, and selling assets.

    It also seems some parties do not understand our Oil and Gas Act.

    Hydrofracking is hydrofracking no matter whether you use propane or water, and it is the only way to get shale gas. The idea that one can keep exploring while not allowing hydrofracking is a contradiction in terms.

    And to be clear, if an exploration company lives up to its requirements to invest a certain amount of money, it may automatically convert to production when it is ready. Thus, to put a moratorium on shale gas, you can not allow exploration to continue. You must stop both or you cannot stop either.

    And as various parties talk about the necessity of having world class regulations, they ignore the recent report from the Council of Canadian Academies, which noted that there is so little research or monitoring of shale gas that no regulations anywhere can be said to be based on science. Regulations willnot protect us.

    But, perhaps the largest piece of missing information and discussion concerns the effects of this industry on climate change. The day before our provincial elections there will be massive demonstrations around the world focused on climate change.

    The world’s scientists, militaries, insurers, financial institutions, food and water specialists, and experts in many other fields tell us that climate change is the number one problem facing the world. It costs us billions of dollars and thousands of lives per year already, and those numbers will rise.

    All public policies – local, regional, national and international - must now consider the effects of policy on climate change and the problems that will come from it. Investments in those industries are likely to be lost as the world reduces fossil fuel usage. Yet, remarkably, only one party mentions this ultimate threat and issue in their party platform.

    Our concerns about unconventional oil and gas are not just the immediate threat to our health and environment caused by extraction methods, but also that we will be adding a new source of greenhouse gases to the fossil fuel mix that threatens us and future generations.

    For the past 4 years, volunteers within the Anti-Shale Gas Alliance of New Brunswick have worked hard to get existing science to the people of New Brunswick in an understandable way. We have succeeded in bringing to light the costs and impacts of this industry and making shale gas a hot campaign issue in this election. All of our concerns have been validated by Canadian scientists, and yet, we see the same overinflated numbers and misleading information on economics and jobs being used to gather votes and sell this industry to the public. It is time to eliminate the spin and get honest about this issue.

    The lawsuit that we have filed awaits whichever party wins the election. We are asking that a high standard be used to judge the scientific and health claims of the safety of this industry – “beyond a reasonable doubt” - the same standard for deciding guilt or innocence in court. High stakes demand a high standard.

    So politicians take note. Deciding how to respond to this lawsuit will be one of your first tasks. Please take this seriously for all our sakes and start talking honestly about it now.

    About NBASGA

    The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance represents the interests of New Brunswickers opposed to unconventional gas and oil exploration and development, while promoting a future in clean energy alternatives.

    Website: www.noshalegasnb.ca

    Email: shaleinfo.nb@gmail.com

    Contact Information

    Jim Emberger (English)

    Tel: 506 440-4255       Email: jimemberger@yahoo.com

    Denise Melanson (French)

    Tel: 506-523-9467       Email: inrexton2013@yahoo.ca

  • Public Release

    NEW BRUNSWICK PEOPLES’ DECLARATION ON SHALE GAS AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

    November 27, 2012

    WHEREAS

    Licences have been granted by the New Brunswick Government on 1.5 million hectares of New Brunswick enabling exploration for shale gas without public consultation or free, prior and informed consent of First Nations as informed by the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and

    With a well casing failure rate of between 2 and 8 percent, and as high as 50 percent over two decades, shale gas extraction using hydro-fracking poses an unacceptable risk to drinking water wells, groundwater aquifers, lakes and streams, as well as consumes millions of gallons of fresh water, rending it a waste product requiring treatment; and

    The shale gas industry will introduce substances such as benzene, diesel fuel, kerosene, naphthalene and antifreeze into our water through spills/leakage of toxic fracking flow-back fluids, and into our air, through fugitive emissions and venting, placing local residents, livestock, wildlife, and critical agriculture and watershed areas at risk; and

    Communities where hydro-fracking has occurred have experienced explosions, fires, spills, stream contamination and well pollution, which have placed volunteer fire departments, EMS units and healthcare providers at risk; and

    Extensive shale gas extraction, and its required infrastructure of roads, drill pads, pipelines, compressor stations, heavy truck traffic, and impacts of noise, emissions and dust will undermine property values and increase tax burdens on New Brunswickers who have not given their consent to this industry;

    AND WHEREAS

    Approximately 20,000 New Brunswickers in 2011 signed a petition calling for a ban on shale gas licensing and extraction in New Brunswick; and

    In November, 2011 a CBC survey of 1,800 New Brunswickers indicated that 80 percent thought environmental concerns outweigh the desire for revenue from hydro-fracking; 74 percent thought hydro-fracking should not continue, and 61 percent called for a total ban on hydro-fracking; and

    The October 2012 report by Dr. Louis LaPierre (The Path Forward) did not reflect the will of the people as expressed at public meetings held in 2012, and Dr. LaPierre did not gather evidence over the course of the public meetings to support his opinion finding that a moratorium on shale gas development was or was notwarranted; and

    The September 2012 report of Dr. Eilish Cleary (Chief Medical Officer’s Recommendations Concerning the Development of Shale Gas in New Brunswick) establishes the extensive and costly parameters required to be put in place to assess basic human health impacts before any exploratory hydro-fracking takes place; and

    New Brunswick does not have an Environmental Bill of Rights guaranteeing its citizens and First Nations a clean environment including air, water and land and recognizing water as a fundamental Human Right; and

    Employment claims of the industry have been largely overstated elsewhere, for example, in Texas. Furthermore, the work requires skills not generally held by New Brunswickers, rendering them ineligible for all but unskilled employment on shale gas sites;

    AND RECOGNIZING

    That, responding to objections from people, especially from those most directly affected, hydro-fracking has been forbidden or banned in many jurisdictions in the world primarily due to concerns over water; and

    That industry infrastructure development will require clear-cutting of trees, 24-hour noise and light pollution, increases in truck traffic and permanent alterations of the landscape which are incompatible with forestry, fishing, guiding, agriculture, tourism, recreation and other pursuits which contribute to the New Brunswick economy; and

    That resources which otherwise could be directed towards clean, renewable energy alternatives such as solar, wind, geothermal, micro-hydro and other non-consumptive energy resources are currently going into the pursuit of natural gas in shale, an un-sustainable fossil fuel that contributes to global climate change; and

    That the private interaction of government and industry groups as occurred in Fredericton from November 4-6, 2012 at the taxpayer-supported 2012 Exploration, Mining and Petroleum New Brunswick Conference has the effect of inhibiting New Brunswickers’ expression against fossil fuel development and prevents alternative energy propositions from gaining recognition or reaching fruition;

    WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, RESPECTFULLY DEMAND THAT

    The New Brunswick Government begin, TODAY, an energy transition program based on reducing overall energy consumption, energy efficiency and giving priority to renewable energy over sources that are finite, whiletransferring all subsidies from carbon to renewables/sustainables and increasing them in scale; and

    That the production and delivery of energy be re-oriented to satisfy the needs of the people of New Brunswick, and not for export or to be managed by transnational interests or driven by industrial consumption; and

    That local, alternative and sustainable solutions be prioritized, decentralizing generation. This transition requires an immediate ban on drilling for shale and in general prohibiting unconventional hydrocarbon extraction using methods too dangerous for the environment and health; and

    That Government invite meaningful, constructive dialogue with social and environmental movements to determine all the economic possibilities and opportunities for New Brunswick that will address our debt and deficit and eliminate shale gas from consideration in this regard; and

    That Government accept that the people reserve the right to enact civil disobedience to confront destruction of the New Brunswick environment, methods of subsistence, of quality of life and of health; and

    That Government prioritize the adoption of a New Brunswick Environmental Bill of Rights, entrenching every citizen’s right to clean air, land and water in legislation, for the benefit of current and future generations.

    Signed this day, the 27th of November, by

    Please sign the electronic petition here

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