For Immediate Release


LaPierre’s report is opinion, not science

Dr. Louis LaPierre’s report on public feedback about the New Brunswick government’s shale gas industry proposals was released on October 15th, and is already attracting comments and criticisms. A retired biologist, LaPierre was commissioned by the provincial government to hold public meetings and gather public reaction concerning the government’s 116 recommendations for regulating a potential shale gas industry. In his report, Dr. Lapierre wrote that there were few comments about the government’s regulations at those meetings. Instead, the public spoke mostly about matters concerning the environment, health, water, and so on. In the concluding remarks of his report, Dr. LaPierre makes recommendations about a moratorium, a phased-approach to development, and outlines a structure for managing gas distribution.

Today, 18 community groups supported a statement suggesting that LaPierre’s recommendations and conclusions were based on opinion, not science.

Dr. Jean Louis Deveau, a social scientist with the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians, says that while LaPierre’s report appears to contain a fairly accurate representation of the concerns expressed at the public meetings, the report’s conclusions and recommendations are unfounded.

“Dr. LaPierre was directed to report on people’s concerns about the government’s recommendations for regulating the industry,” Deveau explains.

“People spoke and wrote to him. Those words and textual submissions were his data. In a proper scientific analysis, his conclusions should have been derived from the actual data he received and might have read something like this: ’New Brunswickers were faced with too many unknowns about the shale gas industry to be in a position to provide meaningful input on the government’s recommendations for regulating the industry. Therefore, they chose to voice their concerns about water, the environment, health, and so on.’ However, instead of linking his conclusions to those data, Dr. LaPierre chose to debate the pros and cons of a moratorium, a phased approach to industry development, and a management structure for a future shale gas industry in New Brunswick. In short, there is nothing in his data to support any of those concluding remarks.”

Deveau suggests that LaPierre has actually failed to follow the science-based approach advocated in his own report and that his report amounts to little more than an opinion piece.

Conservation Council of New Brunswick—Stephanie Merrill

Council of Canadians, Fredericton Chapter—Jean Louis Deveau

Council of Canadians, Saint John Chapter—Carol Ring

Darlings Island Fracking Intervention Naguwigewauk—Doug Foster

Friends of UNB Woodlot—Mark D’Arcy

Hampton Water First—Chris Rendell

Harvey Environmental Action—Terry Wishart

Memramcook Action—Patricia Leger

Maliseet Grand Council—Alma Brooks

New Brunswickers Against Fracking—Stan Donovan

Our Environment, Our Choice—Mike McKinley

Parents Against Everyday Poisons—Michael Stoneleigh

Penniac Anti-Shale Gas Organization--Eric Hadley

Quality of Life Initiative—Otty Forgrave

Tantramar Alliance—Marilyn Lerch

Upriver Environment Watch—Ann Pohl

Upper Miramichi Stewardship Alliance—Brad Wood

Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County—Deborah Carr

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