Economic fear mongering is alive and well

The following letter from Taymouth resident, Jim Emberger appeared in the Daily Gleaner on January 23, in response to repeated essays, articles and letters attacking those opposed to shale gas development. (for links, see below).

What I find personally shocking is our Health Minister’s tone: “Jed Clampett had sense enough to take the oil and turn it into $60 billion and move to Beverley Hills, but people in New Brunswick want to stay in the shack and have granny as their doctor,” Flemming said.

Yet, what he doesn’t say is even a fictional character from the back hills of the Ozarks had the sense to skip town with his money rather than stay and endure the oil drilling in his own backyard.

May I also point out that those in the industry have salaries. Those in our government have salaries. They are paid to do what they do and to say what they say.

Those who are on the front lines of the opposition are volunteers. We are giving our time and our own resources to this cause. We are funding our travel expenses and our publicity and legal expenses. We are taking time away from our work and our families to research and attend meetings and rallies. Many have been involved in this for years. We come from all walks of life. If we were not utterly convinced and passionate about this cause, would we still be here? Our government is ignoring our voice and failing to address our concerns.

Jim’s response is reprinted with permission from the author.

Letter to the Editor, The Daily Gleaner
Jan. 23, 2013
by Jim Emberger

Curiously, Minister of Health Ted Flemming, Dr. LaPierre, geologist Adrian Park and some letter-to–the-editor writers use identical language to claim that opponents of shale gas rely on inaccurate data from the film Gasland, and indulge in hysterical fear mongering.

How dishonest, hypocritical and desperate! Unable to convince the public about the wonders of shale gas, they attempt to discredit the opposition. Gasland served as a wake-up call several years ago, but has been superseded by much history and science. I can’t remember any public forum in two years where it was cited as a reference.

Shale opponents cite Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, international expert in rock fracturing, peer-reviewed scientific studies in prestigious journals, the US EPA, the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, government records of violations, and the industry’s own reports of failure.

We cite the only long-term public health study by the University of Colorado, and The Endocrine Disruption Exchange on the toxicity of fracking chemicals. We point to the scholarly report done by New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Eilesh Cleary, which notes that we know almost nothing about shale’s public health threats.

Recent peer-reviewed studies from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado are cited showing that shale worsens climate-change.

Economists, financial analysts, science-based non-profit organizations, and the testimonies of people affected by shale gas from across North America are our sources. We’ve brought many expert speakers to the New Brunswick public.

Where are the voices for the pro side? We hear only from gas-producing interests.

Where are the independent studies proving that wells don’t leak, that water doesn’t get contaminated and air isn’t polluted, that there are no health problems, that methane isn’t leaking, that fracking chemicals aren’t toxic/carcinogenic, that roads aren’t destroyed, that quality of life doesn’t suffer, that shale gas’s boom and bust economic shell game doesn’t leave a place worse off?

The silence is deafening.

We offered to debate publicly, but government and industry were no-shows.
The government merely repeats the totally false and unsupported idea that shale gas is our only economic hope. Talk about fear mongering propaganda.

Jim Emberger
Taymouth, N.B.

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