• Shale gas development is being discussed by a multitude of folks: neighbours, politicians, youth, health care providers, farmers, and investors. Yet, I find it surprising that there is very limited discussion in the media about the fact that groups and citizens continue to take precious time out of their lives to go directly to the legislature doors to express their concerns. There have been two years of active public outcry by citizens and groups working to ensure that the shale gas conversation is not cut short.

    New Brunswick is full of tenacious people who will continue to publicly share their concerns at the NB legislature steps until true dialogue and active citizen-engaged decision-making occurs. Both sides of the shale gas debate deserve the chance to not only discuss concerns, but share their fears and ideas of a vibrant New Brunswick.

    Citizens and groups are engaged and invest their time into because they love this place. These people are also a resource that needs to be tapped as a way to help propel NB into the future.

    Check out some of the online media:

    -        Facebook images of NB Legislature opening

    -        N.B. to weigh in on shale gas development, Halifax Herald

    -        NB premier promises to deliver shale gas blueprint, CTV news

    -        CBC News report

    -         Toward a Green Power Grid & Financing a Green Power Grid, Woodstock Sustainable Energy Group

  • Tories are incoherent on 'regional social licence'

    Jim Emberger,Commentary, Telegraph Journal   September 13, 2018

    The freshly released Progressive Conservatives platform contains only a single sentence on shale gas, and leaves "regional social license" – mooted by leader Blaine Higgs in April – entirely unexplained.

    Even without adequate detail in the platform, the very concept is a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.

    The shale gas moratorium’s first condition sensibly dictates that, before social license can be granted, citizens must receive “clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on public health, the environment and water.”

    As I have documented in previous articles, the “clear and credible evidence” from science and public health studies, court cases, journalistic investigations and government regulatory actions reveal shale gas impacts including:
    • A host of serious diseases affecting those living near gas wells, and especially the unborn. 
    • Water contamination from every aspect of industry activity.
    • Leaking methane from gas infrastructure, making it a leading contributor to climate change.
    • Toxic wastewater created by fracking, with no safe way of disposal.
    • Universally inadequate regulations and oversight, plus the precarious financial state of the industry, means that these threats continue unabated.
    As the Progressive Conservatives haven’t provided the public with any credible evidence that these risks have been addressed, how can they ask anyone for social license?

    Meanwhile, extensive government reviews of shale gas elsewhere have almost unanimously led to bans or moratoriums. These include Quebec, Canada’s Maritime Provinces, 19 of the 25 countries of the European Union, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and several U.S. and Australian states. Mexico, a major fossil fuel producer, is banning fracking.

    In many U.S. states that launched the shale industry before conducting public reviews, hundreds of cities and counties have passed resolutions restricting fracking.

    Before New Brunswick's last election, over 70 municipalities and dozens of medical, public health, religious, community, environmental and indigenous groups called for a moratorium – including Mr. Higgs’ community of Quispamsis.

    The PCs apparently are aware of this widespread public opposition, and attempt to sidestep it by claiming that fracking will be limited to Sussex and Albert County, because those localities want it.

    Yet the municipality of Sussex Corner supported the moratorium, as did citizen groups in the nearby agricultural area of Cornhill, and in Penobsquis, where existing gas wells are located.

    In Albert County, the municipalities of Hillsborough and Alma supported the moratorium, as did the neighboring city of Moncton. Citizen groups – e.g. the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance, Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County, and the Chepoudy Communities Revitalization Committee – have reaffirmed their support for the moratorium.

    So who will grant "social license," and how is "regional" defined? The PC platform contains nary a clue.

    Do businessmen reaping financial benefits, but living away from the wells, get the same vote as pregnant mothers living next to gas wells, who – willingly or not – will assume greater health risks?

    Airborne chemical pollution affects those with asthma and respiratory problems up to hundreds of kilometres away. Likewise, waterborne contaminants can travel the length of whatever waterways they enter. How far downstream and downwind is the regional line drawn for health and environmental risks? 

    Increased health care and road repair costs have been documented everywhere a shale gas industry exists, as have the costs of dealing with abandoned wells. These financial risks and costs will be borne by all the taxpayers of New Brunswick.

    Leaking methane gas damages the climate for everyone.

    These widespread risks to health and environment from fracking have been proven. Living on one side of some arbitrary regional line doesn’t grant the right to accept those risks for everyone.

    The ethics of medical research require that every individual give their informed consent to be a ‘guinea pig’ before being exposed to toxic, carcinogenic or untested chemicals. Fracking, which uses hundreds of such chemicals, is a massive uncontrolled experiment and should require no less a standard.

    And yet, the PCs are running with the slogan that they will restore trust. 

    Mr. Higgs recently wrote a commentary in this newspaper on his plans to fight climate change ("A carbon plan, not a carbon tax," Aug. 18, A11). It did not once mention his policy on shale gas. Does he know the gas industry is a major contributor to climate change?

    Also unaddressed is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The rapid depletion of shale gas wells means the industry must continually drill new wells. Thus, a "regional" industry won’t stay regional for long. 

    The PCs have not discussed these concerns, or any of the risks catalogued above. Their platform does not even contain the words "shale," "fracking," or "moratorium." Doesn’t the path to trust demand a demonstration that one understands and can discuss the concerns now, before the election?

    If facts don’t support a policy, the policy must change. Not discussing the facts won’t build trust.

    Canada’s Dr. John Cherry, one of the world’s foremost experts on groundwater contamination, testified before our Commission on Hydrofracturing, noting, “It is hard to make the case for social license if you have no scientific proof of safety.” These are words the PCs, and indeed all New Brunswickers, need to heed.

    Jim Emberger is spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.
  • For Immediate Release
    PRESS RELEASE
    22 November 2012

    Toughest shale gas regulations in North America? – Not anymore

    Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada – New Brunswick government introduces a loophole that exempts all shale gas operations from the provincial Clean Air Act.

    The Alward government has proposed exempting certain businesses from the Clean Air Act implemented in 1997 to protect New Brunswickers from the harmful effects of air pollution. Air pollution results in premature deaths, as well as tens of thousands of hospital administrations and emergency room visits by Canadians experiencing respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.

    “The Alward government pledged to develop world-class regulations to oversee the shale gas industry – to strengthen existing regulations and not dismantle them,” says Mark D’Arcy, a member of the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians.
    In a speech to the Moncton Chamber of Commerce on October 3rd 2011 Premier David Alward said, “We actually have a strong set of policies and regulations already. But we need them to go further to ensure New Brunswickers and our environment will remain protected. And we’ll make sure they do go further. As a matter of fact, we’ll make sure New Brunswick has some of the toughest regulations governing exploration and development on this continent.”

    “By relaxing these standards the Alward government is doing exactly the opposite of what it continually promises the public,” says D’Arcy.

    Under the current classification (Clean Air Act, 1997), shale gas companies fall under a Class 4 designation. Class 4 criteria require emissions less than: 1) 10 tonnes per year of either sulphur dioxide or particulate matter and 2) 30 tonnes of gas per minute.

    The proposed amendment, allegedly targeting small heating plants, reads as follows: ‘if the sulphur dioxide emissions released into the environment are less than 10 tonnes per year and the particulate matter emissions released into the environment are less than 10 tonnes per year, no approval is required…’

    Note that the only criteria being targeted for exemption coincidentally relate directly to the manner in which the shale gas industry is currently classified.

    “This is like saying that to get your driver’s license you must be 16 or over and pass both written and road tests. However, in another superseding section of the Motor Vehicle Act it would state that anyone 16 or over is exempt from all driving tests. Does this make any sense?” says D’Arcy. “First wetlands, next watersheds, and now air sheds are available for deregulated development.”



    Reference:
    Response to Proposed Amendment to the Air Quality Regulation 97-133 under the Clean Air Act
  • Here's a link to the video of Dr. John Cherry’s informative ‘'Shale Gas Experiment” presentation in Fredericton, November 17, 2015. It was posted by the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.

  • Voice of the People Tour kick-off

    Delta Hotel Fredericton - March 20 2014

    Who are we?Firstly, the Voice of the People Tour is being organized by concerned citizens through various community organizations: the Council of Canadians, the New Brunswick Anti Shale Gas Alliance, the Fredericton District Labour Council and Unifor. We are working together to bring these important issues to the people in our communities.

    The Voice of the People Tour will be coming to communities in every corner of the province. We want to hear your voice!

    The purpose of our tour is to provide public education about shale gas and clean energy.


    We will be asking the people in our communities:


    • • Do we know everything we need to about shale gas?
    • • Is shale gas the only way to create jobs?
    • • What do you want in your backyard?
    The town hall meetings will provide an overview of scientific evidence of the effects of shale gas development, specifically hydraulic fracturing of shale gas. We also want to discuss possible alternatives to shale gas development, namely clean energy and clean jobs.

    Our concerns are broadly shared. We are here today in solidarity with many other organizations who have given their endorsement to the Voice of the People Tour.Why? Because they too are concerned with the dangers of shale gas and the lack of consultation with the people.  


    These organizations are:

    CUPE
    Unifor
    Fredericton and District Labour Council
    The New Brunswick Federation of Labour
    New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance
    Council of Canadians
    Conservation Council of New Brunswick
    The National Farmers Union
    And more...

    The tour will highlight why so many organizations and people are against shale gas, including 130 New Brunswick municipalities, community organizations, and professional associations. Most recently, many labour unions have called for a Provincial/national moratorium on shale gas development.

    Why have the citizens organized this tour? Because we believe that the peoples' voice is vital in democracy. Over the past 4 years there has been little to no consultation or public meetings initiated by the government, nor by industry. So, people are organizing themselves. Also, there has been no consultation with the First Peoples of this land.

    In addition, the Government of New Brunswick has failed to provide the public with peer reviewed scientific evidence of the harmful effects of shale gas fracking, and shale gas development. The people are not getting the information they need.

    The Premier would have us believe that shale gas is the only way to create jobs in this Province. We know this is not true. In fact, according to Blue-Green Canada, for the same investment there are seven times more jobs created with clean energy and building efficiency than with the oil and gas industry.

    For example, The 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry report showed that there were double the number of clean energy workers compared with the number of natural gas workers in neighbouring shale gas state of Pennsylvania. 80,000 jobs were created in the clean energy versus 40,000 jobs in the natural gas sector.

    Clean jobs and green energy are possible and more financially viable and long term. Shale gas jobs disappear once the wells are drilled.

    It makes more sense for New Brunswick to invest in clean energy alternatives instead of shale gas. It's safer and creates more jobs. To do otherwise would be a lost opportunity for our Province.

    We believe the people will be the problem solvers in this tour.

    The people have this responsibility.
     

    Signed - 
    The Voice of the People Coalition

    voiceofthepeopletour@gmail.com


     

  •  
    The Voice of the People Tour town hall meeting for Fredericton South is being held this Wednesday evening, April 30, 2014, at Christ Church Cathedral Memorial Hall, 168 Church Street from 7:00-9:00 pm. The Voice of the People Tour is in 30+ communities across the province, giving citizens their say in building a better energy future for New Brunswick.

    The Council of Canadians - Fredericton Chapter will announce to the public at tonight's meeting that it is organizing a ‘Meet the Candidates Q&A’ for the riding of Fredericton South.
     

    This ‘Meet the Candidates Q&A’ meeting will be held Thursday, September 4, 2014 at Christ Church Cathedral Memorial Hall, 168 Church Street from 7:00-9:00 pm.

    Invitations have just gone out to the known candidates David Coon (Green Party), Kelly Lamrock (NDP), and Craig Leonard (PC and the incumbent MLA). The purpose of this meeting is to provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions of their MLA candidates and to hear their positions on issues which concern constituents.

    The Council of Canadians - Fredericton Chapter will be encouraging communities across the province to organize their own ‘Meet the Candidates’ Q&A meetings. All of these meetings will be citizen-led and non-partisan.


    DATE:Wednesday evening, April 30, 2014
     

    TIME: 7:00PM-9:00PM
     

    LOCATION: Christ Church Cathedral Memorial Hall, 168 Church St. Fredericton NB


  • THE 'VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR'

    Download and Distribute the Poster Today!

    BONUS Flyer Template: Saint John Meeting April 5th!!

    Voice Of The People Tour Poster - Colour Large Size PDF
    http://nben.ca/en/get-involved/action-alerts/item/download/109_569fc958f53149a6a2ec2f5823a82601

    Voice Of The People Tour Poster - Colour Letter Size PDF
    http://nben.ca/en/get-involved/action-alerts/item/download/108_bea20c7b685c94fa96c84d2fea88c02b

    Voice Of The People Tour Poster - Colour Large Size JPEG
    http://nben.ca/en/get-involved/action-alerts/item/download/110_f827df93d253a4e5b8c162bc38978303

    Voice Of The People Tour Poster - Colour Letter Size JPEG
    http://nben.ca/en/get-involved/action-alerts/item/download/112_0e5ea893ce209ec28069613cf704da8b

    Voice Of The People Tour Poster - Black and White Letter Size JPEG
    http://nben.ca/en/get-involved/action-alerts/item/download/113_63918c09277a26ad10af051e51b2d75c

    Voice Of The People Tour Poster - Black and White Large Size PDF
    http://nben.ca/en/get-involved/action-alerts/item/download/114_90299c876658569c93acfea6a569adb6

    Voice Of The People Tour - Saint John April 5th Flyer
    http://nben.ca/en/get-involved/action-alerts/item/download/116_5a10b31d31412247084a1e92a3d62a52

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

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

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

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

    - Kick the Alward government out (9)

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

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

    - No pipeline (8)

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

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

    - Cultivate Hemp (7)

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

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

    - Community owned and run forestry (4)

    - Policies to replace imports with domestic goods (4)

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

    8. (tie)
    - Community gardens (3)

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

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

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

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


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

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

    2. Boycott Irving (83 dots)

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

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

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

    6. Honour Aboriginal land and rights (51 dots)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    2) Our water must be protected!

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

    4) Moratorium on shale gas

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

    6) Bring back sustainable forestry not plantations

    7) Business opportunities for wind energy in NB

    8) Need more tools to create small, local economies

    9) Keep our children here by rural development 

    10) Home owners need incentives to generate own power i.e. Solar, biogas, windmill
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results for Sussex NB and area May 8 2014


    1)  NB's democratic deficit is stifling our ability to have an effective public voice to counter government and industry control

    2)  Something needs to be done about corporate media control in NB

    3)  We need better transparency about what has been happening in Penobsquis

    4)  (Tie)
         - Stop subsidizing large corporations
         - Regulations will not protect us

    5)  NB needs more emphasis on sustainable industry incentives

    6)  Proportional representation is needed for electoral reform

    7)  (Tie)
        - Community economic development investment funds and other investment tools are needed to support local community development
        - Concern for lack of accurate information and industry truth

    8) Reduce toxins - Take NB out of a sacrifice zone 
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results Summary for Belledune, April 9, 2014

    Belledune April 9, 2014 Red Dot Poll results:


    1) We need to protect our water above all else.


    2) Belledune should pass a 10 year moratorium on shale. 


    3) Map aquifers


    4) (tie)

    - Ask politicians the hard questions

    - Government must classify our waterways

  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results Summary for Edmundston, April 9, 2014

    - 35 citizens (approx.) in attendance

    Edmundston April 10, 2014 Red Dot Poll results:

    1(tie) 

    -First nations: "You will not be bringing this(shale gas) to our territories" 

    -Don't forget about the Pipelines


    2(tie) 

    - Don't vote Red or Blue- any colour but that.

    - Take our province back, take our government back.

    - Take corporations out of politics

    - Look to areas that have succeeded in transitioning to a new way of thinking


    3 - Treaties protect us all


    4(tie)

    - True consultation with First Nations

    - Let's focus on what we want versus what we don't want.


    5 - Demand a moratorium on fracking 

  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results Summary for Fredericton South, April 30, 2014

    1) Moratorium on shale gas

    2) Public health

    3) New Brunswick needs diverse set of solutions for jobs / economy
    - clean energy
    - Local value aded products
    - local agriculture and forestry

    4) Sustainable jobs. Clean jobs.

    5) Forest management agreement with JD Irving must be stopped

    6) First Nations should be consulted before entering into resource agreements

    7) No 'gag' orders and non-disclosure agreements should be allowed in NB

    8) Radioactive waste water

    9) Solar power

    10) Clean energy
  •     VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results Summary for St. Stephen and area, May 1, 2014


    1)  Stop (moratorium or ban) shale gas in NB to protect our water and 7 generations

    2)  Protect our aquifers

    3)  Take corporations out of politics

    4)  (Tie)

    -      We need value-added here in NB, e.g. wood products

    -      Allow hemp industry in NB

    5)  (Tie)

    -      NB must provide a complete set of tools to allow citizens, communities and co-ops, farmers, etc. to invest in local energy projects

    -      Community economic development investment funds

    -      Good feed-in tariff rate

    -      Investment tax credits for co-ops

    -      Begin community discussions on creating renewable energy opportunities

    6)  (Tie)

    -      Stop forest agreement with Irving. We need to get our crown forests back

    -      Change the way we vote: Kick out the Liberals and PC’s and vote in other party candidates

    -      Focus on renewable energy and our own communities. We need to take care of ourselves and do it sustainably. e.g. local food and local forestry


  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR:
    Red Dot Poll Results Summary for Woodstock, March 25 2014
    - 45 citizens (approx.) in attendance


    1) Shale gas moratorium

    2) Consult with First Nations before entering into resource agreements.

    3) Change Forest Act as BC, Quebec and Ontario have done

    4) (tie)
    -Discontinue subsidies to BIG corporations
    -People before profi

    5) (tie)
    - Government needs NEW thinking esp. jobs, value added, renewables
    - Windmills and small local energy generation
    - Energy efficiency

    6) Tour going to First Nation communities

    7) (tie)
    - Community bill of rights
    - Contact influential people in your community.
    - Education: Spread the word

    8) Proportional representation

    9) “ Land Caution” on Crown land

  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR:  RED DOT POLL SUMMARY
    FOR FREDERICTON NORTH, March 24 2014
    - 140 citizens (approx.) in attendance

    1) Stop subsidies to large profitable corporations



    2) A shale gas moratorium or ban in NB



    3) Investment tools of citizens, communities and co-ops:

    - Feed-in tariffs

    - Community Economic Dev't Investment Funds

    - Investment tax credits for co-ops

    - Long-term payback loans for solar/wind



    4) Proportional Representation



    5) (tie):    

    - Local manufacturing of energy-efficiency solutions

    - Elected leaders must offer viable CLEAN ENERGY solutions as a way to create jobs and create a sustainable civilization



    6) Lessen the control and monopoly of media in NB



    7) Solar energy development and investments



    8) Take back our democratic process



    9) Protect the water resources in NB

    10) (tie):

         -Town hall meetings

         - Cooperation between NDP and Green Party to prevent vote splitting

         - Government MUST listen to citizens

         - Journalists must be asking questions about gov’t decisions ( e.g. why forestry is creating so few jobs)

    11) (tie):

         -Tidal power

         - Promote cooperative enterprises

         - Invest in public education



    12) Create a local, regional food policy for NB



    13) (tie):

         - Mandatory for new homes/buildings to use solar energy

        - Aquifer mapping in NB

    14) (tie):

         - Encourage information technology: get young people into mobile media/film technology AND gov’t should use software created in NB.

           - Citizens must become more engaged and come out to rallies

    15) (tie)

         - Bring back energy efficiency

         - Better guidelines for building all new homes/buildings


  •  For Immediate Release                PRESS RELEASE                       November 21, 2011

    Walk for a ban on fracking – stop ”fracking“ with our water and air

    FREDERICTON NB ---- A citizen march through downtown Fredericton, culminating with a rally at the Provincial Legislature, will take place on Tuesday November 27th to demand a stop to unconventional natural gas development in NB.

    In November of last year, over 20,000 New Brunswickers demanded a ban on shale gas development and production with petitions to the Legislature. In addition, many different New Brunswick associations have passed resolutions for either a ban or a moratorium on unconventional natural gas development over the past year. These include:

    1. 1)  Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick with 51 members (Oct. 2011)
    2. 2)  New Brunswick Nurses Union with 6900 members (Dec. 2011);
    3. 3)  NB National Farmers Union with 150 farms as members (March 2012);
    4. 4)  Maritime Conference of the United Church of Canada (March 2012);
    5. 5)  Canadian Union of Public Employees with 30,000 members (April 2012);
    6. 6)  New Brunswick College of Family Physicians with 700 members (April 2012)
    7. 7)  Medical Staff at Sackville Memorial Hospital (May 2012);
    8. 8)  Medical Doctors of the Moncton Hospital (June 2012);
    9. 9)  The Federation of Rural New Brunswickers (FoR NB)
    10. 10) Medical Doctors at Georges Dumont Hospital, Moncton (Sept. 2012) and
    11. 11) A number of municipalities (Moncton, Sackville, Memramcook, Minto, Stanley, Bathurst,Corner, Quispamsis).

    “The NB government has not given any indication that it is willing to listen to any of these calls for a moratorium or ban,” says Marilyn Lerch of the Tantramar Alliance against Hydrofracking. “On the contrary, the very first motion of the Second Session of the Legislative Assembly ignored the petitions and confirmed the Progressive Conservative policy for ’responsible‘ development of New Brunswick’s Natural Gas reserves.”

    “Natural gas reserves in NB are unconventional, meaning that they can only be extracted with a relatively new technology called high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking)”, explains Stephanie Merrill of CCNB Action. “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.”

    “There is mounting evidence from other jurisdictions that the health, social and environmental risks are serious and the economics are hyped” states Adjunct University of Calgary Professor Guillermo Castilla. “Therefore, our government has a duty to prevent harm and stop any further development until this technology is proven safe and a comprehensive business case is developed”.

    “The goal of Tuesday’s walk and rally is to commemorate the 20,000 New Brunswickers whose petition for a ban on fracking was ignored, and to demand an immediate stop to unconventional natural gas exploration and permitting”, says Julia Linke of the Fredericton chapter of The Council of Canadians. “This means an immediate stop to: ongoing shale gas exploration, the granting of any new licenses, and the renewal of existing ones” Dr. Linke itemized.

    “The groups and organizations that have already joined or endorsed this event are a real cross-section of both rural and urban New Brunswick” states Jim Emberger of the Taymouth Community Association. “The opposition to fracking is only increasing in this province, as the government fails to produce any business case supporting their claims about jobs and royalties, while it continues to relax environmental protection of our wetlands, watersheds, and air to make way for this industry”.

    ”Unconventional natural gas exploration will affect all of New Brunswick, cities, towns and rural communities” says Sackville Town CouncillorMargaret Tusz-King, “and it is significant that so many New Brunswickers are coming together in solidarity at this Legislature Opening protest, and showingtheir public support for a stop to a development that could change the face of our picture province forever.”

    On Tuesday November 27th, groups and citizens will commemorate last year’s rally, and show solidarity with the 20,000 people whose petition was ignored, with “a walk for a ban on fracking” through Fredericton. The peaceful walk will begin at 11am at the Old Burial grounds and will finish with a rally between noon and 1 pm in front of the Legislature Building with a number of brief speaker presentations.

    The groups/organizations that have already joined and/or endorsed this event is as follows:

    A) Community groups: 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) NGOs: 1) CCNB ACTION, 2) NB Lung Association 3) ecoFredericton Sustainable Living Inc., 4) Council of Canadians – Saint John Chapter, 5) Council of Canadians – Fredericton Chapter and 6) Sierra Club Atlantic

    C) Professional/Trade Organizations: 1) Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), 2) NB National Farmers Union (NFU NB) and 3) Fredericton & District Labour Council

    D) Political Parties: Green Party and NDP

    E) Youth and Young Adults: 1) Grade 5 Class of Chief Harold Sappier Memorial Elementary School, St. Mary’s First Nation, Fredericton 2) Saint Thomas & UNB Students, 3) Eco-action group of Mount Allison University and 4) NB Craft College Students

    F) Facebook Groups: “New Brunswick is NOT for sale”, “SAY NO TO SHALE GAS IN NEW BRUNSWICK”, “NoShaleGasNB”, “Upriver Environment Watch” and “Ban Hydraulic Fracturing (hydro-fracking) In New Brunswick”

    Link: Marche Pour Interdire la Fracturation

  •  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    NEWS RELEASE,  JULY 24, 2012

    Ward 10 Residents Request for Shale Gas Consultation Meeting Shut Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Posted For Ward 10 Residents Association

    Media Contact: Taeyon Kim frederictonward10residents@gmail.com

  • Commentary by Jim Emberger / Telegraph Journal
    11 January 2019

    Just before the holidays, Brunswick News interviewed Steve Moran, CEO of gas producer Corridor, Inc. This interview, and conversations that followed it, contradicted everything that Premier Higgs told us about lifting the shale gas moratorium.

    Mr. Higgs has justified lifting the moratorium because, he said, jobs and $70 million in investment would follow.

    However, Corridor said it won’t be doing any drilling or investing in New Brunswick until 2021 at the earliest, and then only if it finds a financial partner, and if gas market conditions are promising, and if the province eases some gas regulations. So even if everything falls into place, investment and jobs are years away. If Corridor can’t find a partner, or if market conditions are bad, or if New Brunswick chooses not to alter its regulations (which protect residents), there may not be jobs or investment.

    A fracked well is shown in this file photo. PHOTO: MARK DIXON/FLICKR

    Mr. Higgs also said our gas supply from Nova Scotia would stop at the end of 2018, and that we needed local shale gas to fill that void.

    But pipeline owners and gas suppliers were already on record that there would remain plenty of gas supply, though there would be a price increase. Local shale gas wasn’t an answer to an immediate supply problem.

    If exploration doesn’t begin until 2021, it could still be years beyond that before Corridor would be able to fill any local supply void.

    So with years before any gas activity, why is the premier rushing to lift the moratorium? Even deciding to do it without legislative involvement? What about the concerns raised by the former chief medical officer’s award-winning report on shale gas, the conclusions of the Commission on Hydrofracking, and the five conditionsimplemented by the last government in its moratorium?

    Isn’t there plenty of time for a sober and scientific discussion of those issues? What exactly is the public policy wisdom of acting in haste?

    Mr. Higgs has also stated his government wouldn’t trade special favours for corporations in exchange for jobs. Does that apply to Corridor’s demands to weaken New Brunswick’s regulations? Is putting people at increased risk part of the “responsible” development of resources that gas proponents constantly tout?

    Confronted with the contradictions to his campaign rhetoric, Mr. Higgs has switched his rationale and now suggests shale gas is needed to supply a potential liquid natural gas (LNG) export facility in Saint John. The facility was built years ago to import gas, but is now underused.

    But even if he is right – and it’s a big “if” – we are still looking at years before any jobs or royalties accrue to the province.

    It’s time for Mr. Higgs to tell us what the basis of his shale gas policy truly is, who will benefit from what he is proposing, and why he has rushed to act before any discussion of events that lie years in the future.

    What is certain is that his reasons to lift the moratorium have been inconsistent, at best. How do citizens – both pro and anti-fracking – feel about promise of jobs and investment that won’t happen for many years, if ever?

    Will we learn why we’re lifting the moratorium in Sussex, when Corridor said it wants to drill in Elgin? Will Sussex determine whether Elgin gets fracked, or did the premier simply use Sussex as a tool to show that somebody wanted shale gas?

    How will the People’s Alliance react to having spent much of its newly won political capital on saving a government by supporting its throne speech amendment on fracking?

    Were PC MLAs themselves blindsided by Higgs’ actions and haste? Do they feel embarrassed when defending these actions to constituents?

    Most importantly, what will the legislature do? Will it wait years to see if Corridor’s wish list comes true, while the province drifts without cogent energy, climate, employment and economic plans?

    The previous legislature’s all-party climate plan already contains a roadmap to a clean energy economy that needs only to be implemented. A recent study by Dunsky Energy Consulting, commissioned by Clean Energy Canada, indicates New Brunswick could replicate the successes of similar jurisdictions and create hundreds of jobs almost immediately, leading to thousands over the years.  Perhaps, moving gas customers to increasingly inexpensive renewable energy could be a priority.

    Amazingly, in spite of all of this, there are those calling to broaden the consensus for shale gas. But no consensus can be built without a foundation built on truth.

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

 © 2018 NBEN / RENB