• FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015

    FREDERICTON —
     Stephanie Merrill, Director of Freshwater Protection with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, issued the following statement in response to the Department of Environment’s approval of the Sisson Mine Environmental Impact Assessment:

    “I’m surprised by today’s announcement considering it’s been made in a vacuum. Final approval of this project is a joint process between the provincial and federal government — but we’re still waiting on the review from the feds, and there are outstanding parts of that review that we’re committed to participating in.

    The province also has not released the summary of the Independent Review Panel to the public, as it’s required to do by law. The summary needs to be released right away for the sake of transparency, otherwise our government is playing fast and loose with the rules that let people participate in this process.

    The company behind the mine proposal, Sisson Mines Ltd, is still far from securing the financing needed to move forward with the project, and no public financing accounts have been released. At best, today’s announcement is a signal that the province is open to business, but in reality, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

    The conditions of approval are vague when it comes to critical issues like emergency planning, the security of the tailings dam, and liability. Most striking, we’re letting the fox guard the henhouse by leaving the responsibility to protect the Nashwaak River and watershed directly in the hands of the company. Even the International Council on Mining —  composed of the world’s largest companies — said yesterday that the control standards for tailing facilities are inadequate and the council would be reviewing and revising its standards.

    We’ve seen at least three major tailings disasters in the past year and a half — at Mount Polley in B.C., the Buenavista del Cobre mine in Mexico, and most recently in Brazil,  where 16 people died and the Brazilian government announced yesterday a $5.2 (billion) USD billion lawsuit against the company responsible.

    First and foremost at this point, we call on the province to release the summary report of the Independent Review Panel so New Brunswickers know what the experts in the scientific community have to say about this project proposal.”
    -30-

    For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

    Jon MacNeill, Conservation Council of New Brunswick: 458-8747 | 261-1353 |jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.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

  • 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!
  • POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE                COMMUNIQUÉ                       3 avril 2012

    La parade des gaz de schiste lance la campagne municipale des Rubans bleus

    Fredericton, N.B., Canada – Le mouvement contre les gaz de schiste se déplace vers les municipalités. Les citoyens de Fredericton demandent aux candidats aux postes de conseillers et de maires de prendre position pour la protection de l’air et de l’eau dans leur municipalité. Pour lancer cette initiative électorale, une parade de voitures et de camions, suivie par des bicyclettes et des piétons, va se rendre au centre de Fredericton ce jeudi 5 avril à midi.

    Le point de rencontre sera le stationnement à côté du vieux cimetière au 51, chemin Woodstock. Le départ sera à midi. La parade suivra la rue King, contournera la législature et puis prendra la rue Queen jusqu’à l’hôtel de ville de Fredericton. Les véhicules et leurs passagers seront décorés de ballons bleus, de rubans bleus, de banderoles bleues, de bidons d’eau bleus et de beaucoup de pancartes. Cette parade lancera officiellement la Campagne des rubans bleus ici à Fredericton.

    La campagne des rubans bleus est une action populaire qui va s’étendre dans les villages et les villes du Nouveau-Brunswick. Avec l’enthousiasme soulevé par cette campagne, les organisateurs prévoient, à l’approche des élections municipales, des manifestations semblables dans tout le Nouveau-Brunswick. La couleur bleue symbolise que les citoyennes et les citoyens vont voter pour les maires et les conseillers qui incluent dans leur plateforme l’interdiction ou un moratoire de l’exploration et de l’extraction des gaz de schiste. Le 14 mai, la population va voter pour le changement. Les représentants élus et les candidats seront invités à se joindre à cette parade pour démontrer publiquement qu’ils sont prêts à prendre position pour protéger l’air et l’eau de leur municipalité.

    « Les couts pour notre santé, pour l’air et l’eau, notre climat et notre économie locale sont simplement trop élevés pour que nous restions silencieux. Les règlements sont incapables de nous protéger de la pollution atmosphérique inévitable de la vallée de Fredericton. Et les nappes aquifères où l’on puise nos eaux potables s’étendent loin à l’extérieur de Fredericton où l’on explore pour trouver des gaz de schiste, » ajoute une résidente de Fredericton, Sarah Boucher. « Il est temps pour les organisations de la santé ainsi que les entreprises, les églises et les politiciens de s’exprimer et de se joindre au plus grand mouvement populaire que le Nouveau-Brunswick n’a jamais connu jusqu’ici.

    « La politicaillerie n’a pas sa place en santé humaine ni en matière de sécurité. Presque toutes les municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick ne se sont pas encore prononcées concernant les gaz de schiste. Les pressions des citoyens ont forcé les conseils municipaux de Minto, Hampton, Sackville et Sussex Corner à voter et ces quatre municipalités sont maintenant protégées par un moratoire ou bien une interdiction. Il est temps que Fredericton fasse la même chose, » selon une autre résidente de Fredericton, Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy.

    Le faible taux de participation aux élections municipales signifie que les sièges peuvent être gagnés ou perdus par seulement quelques centaines de votes et souvent moins. Plusieurs sièges sont gagnés par acclamation. Durant les dernières élections municipales le 12 mai 2008, le taux moyen de participation a été de quarante-huit pour cent dans les élections municipales contestées et dans les élections des collectivités rurales (le taux le moins élevé était de vingt-huit pour cent et le plus élevé soixante-dix-sept pour cent). Cent-soixante-dix candidats se sont présentés pour les cent-quatre postes de maire; et huit-cent-quatre-vingt-neuf candidats se sont présentés aux cinq-cent-trente-sept postes de candidats; cinquante-trois maires et cent-dix conseillers ont été élus par acclamation.

    « Faisons savoir à nos conseillers qu’ils ont besoin de se prononcer et qu’ils doivent protéger notre air et notre eau, » propose l’organisateur de la marche bleu, Mark D’Arcy. « Les élections municipales auront lieu de 14 mai prochain. »

     

    Personnes-ressources pour les médias :

     

    Mark D’Arcy 

    Tel. 506 454 5119

    markandcaroline@gmail.com

     

    Terry Wishart

    Tel. 506 238 4001

     t.wishart@banfrackingnb.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

  • April 5, 2017

    FREDERICTON – The Conservation Council of New Brunswick’s Executive Director, Lois Corbett, made the following comments in response to the provincial government’s announcement today about new rules and procedures for reporting water quality at Parlee Beach:

    “It’s a smart protocol, one that will increase health protection. Deciding to use Health Canada’s technical and science-based guidelines for beach water safety is the right decision.”

    “Testing the health of the water every day, seven days a week, when the beach is open, will provide our citizens, our local businesses, and our visitors with clear information — Minister Rousselle gave us exactly what we needed. ”

    “And now that the testing, reporting and public communications issues have been resolved, we can next move more quickly to stop the pollution that contaminates the water.”

    “That step is very important and will require both stopping harmful practices like filling in wetlands and salt marshes, and reducing human and animal waste — the main source of the health threats to swimmers. We need to attack all sources — whether it is business or farm runoff, the local sewage system, or private septic tanks and recreational boaters.”

    “Reducing the sources of water pollution is something we all care about but, as individuals, and we sometimes feel we have little to contribute. Well, not this time. It’s all hands on deck to fix the problem and continue to make this beach, and others, a destination of choice.”

    -30-
    • You can read the government announcement here.
    • You can learn more about the new rules here.
    • You can read more about Parlee Beach here.
  • May 23, 2012

    Premier David Alward

    Minister Responsible for Citizen Engagement

    Centennial Building
    P. O. Box 6000
    Fredericton, NB
    E3B 5H1
    Canada

    Dear Mr. Alward:

    Our government is not living up to its commitment to engage with citizens. Shale gas mining and development is one of the most important and controversial issues facing New Brunswickers today. During the past 12 months, thousands of urban and rural New Brunswickers have been moved to action. Some have had their well water tested. Many have participated in protest marches for the first time in their lives. Others have sent letters to newspaper editors denouncing our government’s involvement in the promotion of this industry. All of these well-informed people are cognizant of scientific evidence that confirms that shale gas extraction threatens our air quality, surface and groundwater, health, property values, and quality of life.

    Despite your promise in a Moncton speech last October, our MLAs have failed to hold town hall and information meetings “to hear directly from their constituents on this important issue.” So, on May 10th, a group of citizens organized a debate in Fredericton on the pros and cons of shale gas mining. Eight government representatives, including you, were invited to participate. Based on our government’s booklet entitled Citizen Engagement and Responsible Government (http://www.scribd.com/doc/31665820/Citizen-Engagement-and-Responsible-Government), we fully expected our government’s active participation in this debate. Instead, our government declined the invitation.

    The e-mail from Mr. Troy Lifford, PC Caucus Chair, attempting to explain our government’s refusal to participate in this debate, was perplexing. Mr. Lifford said our government has yet to decide whether it endorses the development of a shale gas industry in New Brunswick.

    This statement seems contradictory to the result of the “free vote” last December, in which Conservative MLAs voted unanimously in favour of “responsible and regulated development” of this industry. Moreover,the Dept. of Natural Resources’ Web site, Natural Gas from Shale, declares, “Welcome to our web site dedicated to shale gas exploration and development,and goes on to address only the alleged benefits of this industry. This does not sound like the words of a government that is undecided on the issue. Nor have Minister Northrup’s repeated refusals to place a moratorium on the industry pending further study sounded like the stance of a government that has yet to decide.

    In April 2012, when Mr. Northrup gave a new shale gas exploration license to Windsor Energy, a company which had previously ignored exploration regulations, he claimed it was to avoid an expensive lawsuit. But in December 2011, our government showed no such reluctance to pass legislation that breached the province’s agreement with Enbridge Gas New Brunswick, legislation to facilitate the economical distribution and use of natural gas. That does not seem to be the action of a government that is undecided about developing a shale gas industry.

    Our government just days ago claimed to have developed “world-class” regulations to control the shale gas industry. That, too, does not seem to be the action of a government that is undecided about developing a shale gas industry.

    All of our government’s public statements, actions and attitudes have made it clear that it favours the development of this industry in the province, regardless of the well-known and scientifically verified dangers it presents to our people. In such a context, Mr. Lifford’s declarations of government neutrality on the issue seem a disingenuous dodge to avoid accountability for the government’s approach to this issue, a dodge that disrespects all of our cherished democratic principles of public consultation and transparency on important issues affecting the people.

    We believe that it is your responsibility, as Minister Responsible for Citizen Engagement, to guide our government in an honest and open discussion of all of the implications of shale gas development in New Brunswick, and to be straightforward and forthcoming about our government’s standpoint towards this extractive resource industry.

    Respectfully,

    Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis – Beth Nixon

    Conservation Council of NB –Stephanie Merrill

    Corn Hill Area Residence Association of NB – Jane Achen

    Council of Canadians – Carol Ring

    Friends of Mount Carleton – Jean Louis Deveau

    Friends of UNB Woodlot – Mark D’arcy

    Hampton Water First – Chris Rendell

    Harvey Environmental Action Team – Terry Wishart

    Memramcook Action – Patricia Léger

    New Brunswickers Against Fracking – Stan Donovan and Mary de La Vallette

    Our Environment, Our Choice –Mike McKinley

    Parents Against Everyday Poisons – Stephanie Stoneleigh 

    Penniac Anti-Shale-Gas Organization – Eric Hadley

    Quality of Life Initiative – Otty Forgrave

    Sierra Club Atlantic – Hazel Richardson

    Stanley Area Action Group – Robert Valiquette

    Sustainable Energy Group – Sam Arnold 

    Tantramar Alliance Against Hydrofracking – Marilyn Lerch 

    Upper Miramichi Stewardship Alliance - Bradley Wood 

    Upriver Environment Watch- Ann Pohl

    Corinne Hersey, 724 Irvine St., Fredericton, NB.

    Susan Linkletter, 291 Scott Road, Salisbury West, NB

  • (Personal Submission to Dr. Louis LaPierre and the Natural Gas Group, June 19 2012 Hillsborough, New Brunswick by Margo Sheppard)

     (Page 1 of 4)

    Dr. LaPierre and members of the Shale Gas Group, I would like to express my concern with shale gas development as informed by my experience assessing the environmental impacts of major infrastructure projects from both the proponent’s and regulator’s perspectives

     

    After twelve years in environmental assessment and policy in the Ontario government, I moved here and since 1996 have worked for the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, fourteen of which as Executive Director. I currently chair the Canadian Land Trust Alliance, an umbrella group for conservation trusts across this country. I am on the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Protected Natural Areas in New Brunswick because I care about the future of this province’s wild spaces and species. I speak as an individual, not as a representative of any group.

     

    “The waste of time, money and human energy that this shale gas misadventure has caused, when we should be focusing on clean, green, sustainable activities and business ventures to actually benefit New Brunswick and bring our children home”

     

    As a fresh-faced environmental planner back in the early 1980s, I studied and consulted the public on new highways. Walking pastoral landscapes I made lists of flora and fauna, knowing that a four-lane expressway would soon flatten it all. I assured people that the effects would be small; the forests and farms soon to be bisected would heal or just cease to be. The need for the highway, the sustainability of the highway or the urban sprawl and loss of countryside it caused I never questioned.

     

    How blithely my ministry paved over Class I agricultural land in the interest of cars and development; how irreverently we dismissed the public’s concerns-- about homes lost, villages split in two—mostly, as facilitators of this upheaval, in order to be able to sleep at night. To address the true impacts would have meant to listen to people and actually prevent the destruction before it started. From the perspective of today, how I wish I had questioned authority and challenged all we did. Alas I did not. I was a few years into an environmental planning career when I discovered my role was to simply minimize, or downplay the damage in the public’s eyes, not actually prevent it.

     

    That was in 1984; global population was 4.8 billion and C02 levels in the atmosphere were 340ppm. Environmental concern worldwide was growing, but there was not the vast store of scientific fact, understanding of the threats or their causes that we have today.

     

    “…but the lure of short-term profits, temporary jobs and delusions of budget surpluses militate that we proceed blindly down this path, unquestioning and uncritical of its folly”

     

    Fast forward to 2012, global population is 7 billion according to the United Nations and the C02 concentration in the atmosphere is close to 400ppm. The cumulative effects of 160 years of industrial activity supercharged by fossil fuels and unconstrained consumption have caught up with us in the form of climatic changes that are going to eclipse any remediation that could, but likely won’t, be administered. At least we now know how to avoid causing further harm, don’t we?

     

    Yet here we are tonight, discussing the merits of still another emissions-intensive fossil-fuel development: shale gas. Clearly we have learned nothing from our current predicament and past failures. Or perhaps we have learned, but the lure of short-term profits, temporary jobs and delusions of budget surpluses militate that we proceed blindly down this path, unquestioning and uncritical of its folly.

    I do not criticize the shale gas group. I criticize its political masters who, encouraged by industry representatives and growth advocates, are willing, no, eager, to sacrifice the clean environment and landscapes of New Brunswick to further their careers and twisted ideas of what it is to have true prosperity. The waste of time, money and human energy that this shale gas misadventure has caused, when we should be focusing on clean, green, sustainable activities and business ventures to actually benefit New Brunswick and bring our children home, is so huge it makes my head spin and my heart break. […]

     [Please Note: Download attachment Hillsborough Shale Gas Presentation]

  • For Immediate Release             PRESS RELEASE                November 26, 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.

    On Legislature Opening Day, Tuesday November 27th, about 40 groups and hundreds of individuals will commemorate last year’s rally against shale gas, and show solidarity with the 20,000 people who signed the 2011 petition, 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 goal of Tuesday’s walk and rally is to demand an immediate stop to unconventional natural gas exploration and permitting”, says Julia Linke (PhD) of the Fredericton chapter of The Council of Canadians.

    The groups and organizations that have already joined or endorsed this event are a real cross-section of both rural and urban New Brunswick and include 24 community groups, 6 NGOs, 3 union organizations, 2 political parties, and 4 student groups.

    Jim Emberger of the Taymouth Community Association states “The opposition to shale gas 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”. 

    See: Walk For A Ban On Fracking – Stop Fracking With Our Water and Air

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

    Pour publication immédiate      COMMUNIQUÉ                    26 novembre 2012

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

    FREDERICTON NB ---- Une marche à Fredericton qui se terminera par un rassemblement à l’Assemblée législative aura lieu le mardi 27 novembre pour demander de mettre fin à l’exploitation non traditionnelle du gaz naturel au NB.

    À l’ouverture de l’Assemblée législative, le mardi 27 novembre, environ 40 groupes et des centaines de personnes vont se rappeler le rassemblement de l’an dernier et démontrer leur solidarité avec les 20 000 personnes qui ont signé la pétition, en participant à une marche à Fredericton pour interdire la fracturation hydraulique. 

    Cette marche pacifique va commencer à 11 h au vieux cimetière et se terminera avec un rassemblement entre midi et 13 heures devant l’édifice de l’Assemblée législative.  De brèves discours seront présentés.

    « Le but de la marche et du rassemblement de mardi est d'exiger un arrêt immédiate de l’exploration et de l’exploitation par méthode non traditionnelle du gaz naturel, » affirme Julia Linke (PhD) du chapitre de Fredericton du Conseil des Canadiens.

    Les groupes et les organisations qui se sont déjà joints à cette manifestation ou qui l’ont endossée constituent un véritable échantillon des populations rurales et urbaines du Nouveau-Brunswick, et ils incluent 24 groupes des collectivités, 6 ONG, 3 organisations professionnelles/syndicats, 2 partis politiques, et 4 groupes d’ étudiants.

    Jim Emberger de l’Association communautaire de Taymouth dit « L’opposition à la fracturation ne peut que s’accroitre dans la province, parce que ce gouvernement ne réussit pas à présenter une analyse de rentabilité pour appuyer ses prétentions concernant les emplois et les redevances tout en continuant à affaiblir la protection environnementale de nos zones humides, de nos bassins versants et de notre atmosphère pour faire place à cette industrie. »

    Voir « Marche pour interdire la fracturation – Cessez de spéculer avec notre eau et notre air »

  • Edmundston
  • Letterhead.png 

    PRESS RELEASE

    Swim Guide launches third version of water quality app

    July 6, 2017


    (FREDERICTON) -- Getting ready for beach time in New Brunswick? Before you go, download the brand-new version of the Swim Guide app.

    With over a million users worldwide, the popular (and free!) application gives beachgoers access to the latest water quality monitoring results for their favourite beaches, along with descriptions, photos, and directions.

    New in 2017

    The 2017 update means Swim Guide is now available in French, English and Spanish. It includes information for over 7,000 beaches in Canada, the United States, Mexico and New Zealand, and has individual entries for over two dozen New Brunswick beaches.

    What’s in it and Why is it Helpful?

    Swim Guide lets people browse the map or search for a beach by name.  Each beach has a description that list amenities, informs you about lifeguards, provides tips about where to park and other valuable information.

    If you don’t know your way to the beach, don’t worry, the app also provides directions whether you’re walking, cycling, driving, or taking transit.

    Using Swim Guide

    Every beach in Swim Guide is marked with an icon that easily lets you know if the water quality is safe for swimming.
    • Green means the beach’s most recent test results met relevant water quality standards.
    • Red means the beach’s most recent test results failed to meet water quality standards.
    • Grey means water quality information for the beach is too old (more than 7 days old) to be considered current, or that info is unavailable, or unreliable.
    The water quality data for NB destinations comes from the Department of Environment and Local Government’s website, and is uploaded to Swim Guide by the Conservation Council. Each beach has a “Source” section which details how the data was obtained.

    Quotes

    “Since launching Swim Guide in 2011 our goal has been to make water quality information simple to access and easy to understand, for as many people as possible. In addition to improving the search, design, and data presentation with this latest version of the iOS app, we are incredibly proud to be able to provide this service in multiple languages so that even more beach lovers can easily find all of the information they need to have a great day on the water.” - Mark Mattson, President, Swim Drink Fish Canada 

    “The new Swim Guide is timely and evidence-based. We hope NB citizens and visitors love it as much as we do. Its clear information about when and where our beaches are monitored will also help us identify sources of water pollution so that together we can act to protect healthy waters and sustainable communities.” Lois Corbett, Executive Director, Conservation Council of New Brunswick

    About Swim Guide

    Swim Guide was developed by Swim Drink Fish Canada (previously a project of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper), a non-profit organization based in Toronto, with the goal to ensure that 100 per cent of Canadians have access to basic data about the health of their watersheds. The group just released the first-ever Canada Beach Report, which was created in collaboration with Waterkeepers, Riverkeepers and Baykeepers across Canada, including the Conservation Council.

    For more information, see these resources:
    Want to check it out for yourself? Download the iOS version for your Apple product or the Android app for your smartphone.

    To arrange an interview, contact: Corey Robichaud, Communications Officer, corey.robichaud@conservationcouncil.ca506-458-8747.
  • 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
  • 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)
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