Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…

Every night, during the evening news, we are treated to heartfelt government advertisements about separated families.  Let’s bring those boys home so they can work here.  We’re all for that…however…the facts do not support the promises.

First, let’s look at worker safety:  In the States, oil and gas industry has 7 times more fatalities than any other industry.  Are things different here?

In Alberta, between  2000 and 2010 – 1,285  workers were killed on the job.  In three subsequent years, between 123 and 154 died each year.

What about job numbers?  The Business Council study promoted by govt and industry promised us 21.5 jobs per well, or three times the number actually produced in Pennsylvania. The researchers did not even look at existing well fields in Penobsquis (6 employees) or Stoney Creek (2 employees).

Let’s take a look at Pennsylvania, where they claim the industry created 30,000 and 50,000 jobs. To accomplish this they drilled 7,200 wells. Do the math:  This means that the industry created a maximum of 7 jobs per well.

jobs2013slideCompare this to the state of Massachusetts, which produced 80,000 clean energy jobs in 5,500 different companies in less time than it took oil and gas to destroy the Pennsylvania countryside. These jobs were distributed throughout the entire state – unlike shale jobs, which are concentrated where the gas is being drilled.  It also found that the jobs crossed all sectors of the economy – construction labor, skilled tradesmen, business managers, and professionals such as architects and engineers. These permanent jobs are in contrast to truck driving and retail that disappear when the shale gas workers are gone elsewhere.

So, we ask…considering the imminent danger climate change, why isn’t our government looking at clean energy options?

Let’s drill instead. Our government assures us that will be only drilling between 50 and 100 wells per year, while in PA they drill between 1200 and 1500 per year.  So how exactly will we supply all our energy needs with cheap gas, supply cheap gas to our industries including big users like potash and fertilizer plants, supply cheap gas to the Irving refinery to refine tar sands oil and export expensive gas over seas on 50-100 wells per year?

Other benefits Pennsylvania has received from the oil and gas craze: 

Community Division:  Because landowners get royalties, local populations have been severely divided against each other, as neighbors without wells undergo all the risks of shale gas with none of its benefits.  The opposition in PA is growing and the Democratic Party now calls for a moratorium on future drilling in their official party platform.

Water Contamination:  Northeast PA is the site of 2 different peer-reviewed studies by Duke University that verified methane contamination of water wells in proximity to shale gas drilling.

Radioactive Wastewater:  Another recent Duke study found dangerously elevated levels of radioactivity and toxic chemicals downstream from a water treatment plant processing fracking wastewater. The streams feed public drinking water sources.

Violations and Fines:  PA keeps its shale gas enforcement actions online – even with its questionable enforcement agency, the database shows thousands of violations. It has levied millions of dollars in fines, but with no decrease in the number of violations.

Fracking Health Secrets: PA law forbids physicians from telling a patient what fracking chemical is making them sick if that chemical has a trade secret designation. Court cases of health problems and contamination have been settled by agreements that include gag orders on the plaintiffs, including last year’s infamous attempt to put lifetime gag orders on two children involved in a case.

(with notes from Jim Emberger)

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Get to the truth of the matter.

fred_nofrackThe people of New Brunswick deserve to know the truth behind our government’s repeated statements on ‘fracking’. Our top level of government assumes that most people will blindly accept what they have to say, without researching the facts for themselves.

Researcher/writer Carla Gunn answers the most pressing fracking questions on the minds of New Brunswickers and provides the counter-arguments, with links.

Examples….

1. Q: For what areas of New Brunswick do oil and gas companies have licenses to explore?

A: An interactive map of licensed areas – encompassing roughly 1/7 of NB’s land mass –  can be found here. 

2.  Q: Both NB’s Premier and Minister Energy and Mines, Craig Leonard, have stated that this type of fracking has been done safely in Alberta for years. Is this true?

A: No. Alberta has been mined for conventional gas –  not unconventional gas.  The Government of Alberta’s  website clearly states that  high-volume, multi-stage slickwater hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for unconventional shale gas, like that found in the hard shale formations in N.B.,  had not occurred up to July 2011.  Since then, there have been some exploratory and experimental wells drilled. However, “Alberta, though Canada’s largest oil and gas producer, has been behind many other jurisdictions in identifying and tapping many of its shale prospects, so development is still in early stage.” See this article. [See below for further explanation of what fracking entails].

3. Q: N.B. Minister of Energy and Mines, Craig Leonard, has repeatedly stated that most New Brunswickers want a fracking industry. Isn’t this true?

A. No. As revealed by a MQO research poll in June 2012, the majority of New Brunswickers oppose fracking (56 per cent opposed, 28 per cent in support and 16 per cent  undecided).  Then, in a June 2013 poll, when asked to rate the safety of shale gas exploration on a scale of one to 10 – with 1 being not safe at all and 10 being extremely safe – the average rating was 3.8.  In addition, over 20,000 New Brunswickers signed a petition calling for a ban on fracking and First Nations communities along with many service districts, municipalities and organizations are calling for either a ban or a moratorium.

Nationally, Canadians want a halt to fracking. A October 2013 Environics poll reveals: ”B.C. residents, at 67 per cent, were most likely to support a moratorium on fracking. B.C. was followed by Atlantic Canada, where 66 per of those polled supported a moratorium, then Ontario (65 per cent), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (64 per cent), Alberta (57 per cent) and Quebec (55 per cent).

For the answers to more questions, including the biggie:  Won’t fracking create lots of jobs? visit her website.

Our choices will determine our children’s future

“Sustainable development must define the choices we make to provide our children with both a thriving and healthy world. It has become increasingly apparent that the shale gas industry is incompatible with sustainability.”

There is no shortage of independent scientific research to prove this statement, as well as actual experiences from places where shale gas has been developed.

There are presently more than 70 New Brunswick municipalities that have called for a ban or a moratorium on shale gas development in the province – along with 30 groups, and a dozen organizations/associations (many of them health-related), as well as countless individuals.

There is little public support for such development, particularly in our rural areas. In a recent meeting with Regional Service District representatives from Kent County, Energy & Mines Minister Craig Leonard said that he would support individual landowners who said ‘no’ to having wells drilled on their property, but would not support municipalities calling for a moratorium within their boundaries. This is an erosion of our democratic rights.

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance has compiled a marvelous collection of short pieces that summarize the different issues of concern related to shale gas development. The twelve important topics, which aren’t often part of the public discussion, are covered individually. Many of the topics greatly affect those not living in shale gas areas.   While geared specifically towards the interests of municipal decision-makers, they also provide fact-based evidence for individuals looking for credible information and research. Read more…

This land is my land…or is it?

(with notes from R. LeChance and D. Core)

Last week in Hillsborough, Dave Core, founding president of CAEPLA, Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowners Associations to spoke to a full house of southern NB landowners on the issue of leasing land for pipelines or gas/oil wells.

davecoreDave has spent decades advocating for landowner property rights across the country. He jokingly commented that, despite his ponytail, he was not an environmentalist, but was, in fact, pro-development. But never at the expense of the landowner.

He hopes to create more responsible land stewardship and to ensure industry is held to higher levels of compensation, accountability and safety through lease agreements.

Pipeline companies are beginning to survey lands east and west of Fredericton for the proposed West-East pipeline and the government has scheduled town hall meetings in a limited number of communities. At the same time, gas companies are exploring for shale gas in south-east New Brunswick and preparing for further development in other areas.

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Pipeline surveyors are already contacting people in the Saint John River Valley. Listen to this interview on CBC and this online article.

Dave’s talk in summary:

Gas and oil companies lease the surface of your land to extract the resources. Pipeline companies can acquire the use of your land through “Easement Agreements” that leave your name on title. In both cases the energy companies can apply to the government through “regulatory processes” for “right of entry” (expropriation). This takes away your right to negotiate a fair contract protecting your best interests. You have no leverage to negotiate once your property rights have been taken by legislation that creates either ministerial or regulatory processes giving all the advantages to the oil/gas and pipeline industry. The only way to counter-balance this is when landowners work together to level the playing field and to force governments to change the legislation protecting property rights.

Here are some important points to understand, should someone approach you to lease/survey your land:

  • Most important: Do not sign any oil or gas leases or pipeline agreements (surveying, exploration, land, etc.) unless you know exactly what you are signing.  Signed documents of any type have been successfully used by pipeline and gas and oil companies to indicate the landowner’s approval for development. Even attending a ‘town hall’ consultation meeting and filling out a survey or information form can be used to ‘verify’ that the company has ‘consulted’ with you.
  • Pipeline companies do not want to own or lease your land; they want to take your land through an easement agreement which leaves your name on title. In this way, partial or total liability for any damages remains with the landowner.
  • Any easement on your land, including all future liabilities, will be tied to your property even if you attempt to sell it.  The easement may restrict your use or any future buyer’s use of the land.
  • If you refuse to sign an easement agreement, the company can apply for a ‘Right of Entry’ that the federal government’s National Energy Board will approve. This taking of land is to the financial benefit of pipeline company shareholders. It is rent control for pipeline monopolies.
  • Land agents will play neighbour against neighbour to make sure that they do not pay fair industrial rates for the land and to avoid signing an ironclad contract that protects your property.  You have little bargaining power as an individual.
  • Landowners across Canada now understand that the only way to get fair compensation for oil and gas leases is to talk to each other. The only way to protect your family’s safety, environment, businesses and investments is by working together to demand ironclad contracts and changes to government legislation respecting property rights. It is only the front line people, those directly affected, that can address these issues and protect our water and stewardship responsibilities.
  • Verbal assurances from a land agent or a gas company are not legally binding. Anything not written into the oil/gas lease or a pipeline easement is NOT in the agreement.
  • Very few lawyers have the necessary experience in property rights issues associated with the laws relating to gas companies and gas leases to actually address the best interests of an affected landowner. When landowners work together, they have leverage to negotiate better agreements and to hire legal counsel who understand the enacting legislation and will stand up for landowner rights.
  • Land agents do not look after your best interests. It is their job to acquire lease/easements at the lowest price with the least responsibility for their clients; i.e. the gas/pipeline companies. When you purchase a house through a realtor, they represent the seller, not the buyer.  Land agents represent the buyer (gas company), not the seller (property owner). Their fiduciary responsibility is to the company paying their contract not to the property owner; do not let them convince you otherwise.

The proposed west-east pipeline would be regulated by the National Energy Board (NEB), and their regulations supersede anything you agree to with the pipeline company, provincial environment or regulatory laws. Once the pipelines are abandoned with NEB approval, the NEB no longer has jurisdiction; responsibility falls back on the landowner. The landowner whose name is on the title, will fall prey to provincial environmental and safety laws, potentially making his/her property a brown space, like an abandoned gas station. This is why pipeline companies do not want to own the land their pipelines cross, they ultimately do not want responsibility when all is said and done.

The best way to protect your best interests when approached to lease land for pipelines or well pads is for landowners to work together to force contracts that are renegotiated or updated every 5 years. Contracts should address abandonment and other risks, liabilities, duty of care and other costs that are often left to affected landowners when they legally belong to pipeline companies.

By creating a NB Landowners Association, landowners form a united front enabling them to negotiate better easement agreements (or perhaps a lease with annual payments renegotiated every 5 years) that help protect safety and property values. It is only by working with your neighbours that you can level the playing field.

We need our local communities and our Provincial Governments to support us in holding the Federal government and its NEB responsible for our property rights.

About CAEPELA
CAEPLA has created an instruction booklet – When the Landman Comes Calling – advising landowners of the risks of leasing. If you know of a neighbour that has been approached by a land agent or anyone else trying to acquire a land or pipeline lease, share or print the attached document with them.  Also share the document with anyone who has stated they are willing to lease their land.
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Unearthed: The Fracking Facade

Afrikaan filmmaker, Jolynn Minnaar’s documentary, Unearthed: The Fracking Facade, started off as her determination to explore the potential for shale gas development in South Africa. She ended up traveling internationally , including the United States and New Brunswick and interviewing over 400 people in her quest for the truth. She visited Moncton last June. The final 5 minutes are particular poignant.

And here is an interview in which she talks about how this independently funded film came about and what she now thinks about the industry.

“This film isn’t about me, about what I think, I’m a filmmaker. I’m 24 years old, I’m not a petrochemical engineer,  I’m not an oil company executive, I don’t have any history in this industry. What I seek to do is go to the various stakeholders, be that the company or someone who has cancer after being exposed to the chemicals used in fracing, and make their voices known because up until now there hasn’t been that exposure so in this debate and in south Africa and internationally, this has failed us. And governments I believe are making poorly informed decisions and a lack of public consultation and it goes down to the basic democratic processes that haven’t been followed. And to me that is completely unacceptable.” Jolynn Minnaar

A Village in the Crosshairs

There is no way around it. A village without water will die.

Several years ago, our village dug 35 wells before finding two that would give us reliable water. Good water is hard to find in hydrocarbon-rich Albert County.

Now, we understand Hillsborough sits on a significant oil reservoir. Below the oil lies what a Corridor Resources spokesman calls “the largest known shale gas play in North America by an order of magnitude.”

HillsboroughmarshIt is called the Frederick Brook member, a shale play that extends from Memramcook,  Hillsborough and Stoney Creek, to Elgin and Sussex (the leases are split between Contact Exploration, Petroworth and Corridor Resources).

“In the shale gas world, I’m not aware of anything that comes remotely close to the Frederick Brook Shale, and that’s because of its thickness,” says Corridor’s geologist.

Well pads already surround Hillsborough on three sides. Some are for oil. Some are for the natural gas below the oil. The process for extraction is largely the same.

The oil and gas lies within what geologists call a ‘complex’ area. The faults running through the layers of rock look like a three-dimensional tic-tac-toe.  In the midst of this tic-tac-toe board, lies oil well ‘B55’.  It is situated about 1,500m or less from our municipal wells and close to private wells. B55 is a little over 1100m deep. Our village water well taps into the aquifer at 200m.

But don’t worry, says our government. In assessing the lay of the land, they have determined if a spill or other accident occurs, the natural flow of contaminants would be away from the village water wells and toward the river.

Really? Well, that also means spills would flow toward the homes with private water wells.

Understand this: I am no eco-terrorist or fear-mongerer. I do not insult or intimidate people who disagree with my viewpoint. I’m all for employment and prosperity in New Brunswick. Who isn’t?

I’m simply a homeowner and self-employed writer. My work ebbs and flows like the Fundy tide. I have no pension. My home is my safety net.

I live and work here in Hillsborough. We have wetlands and wildlife. We’re friendly folk who hike and bike the village trails, and appreciate fresh air, and a dark sky filled with stars. We have easy access to forests, lakes and streams. You get the picture.

hillsboroughSo all this concerns me. Deeply. It concerns my neighbours. It concerns our village council and our local businesses. It also concerns doctors, geologists, scientists, engineers, economists, lawyers, and everyday people all over this province who have spent thousands of unpaid hours researching independent studies on the issue and giving people the information our government should be providing.

You might think that Hillsborough would have a soft spot for oil and gas exploration. We lie a few minutes from Stoney Creek, New Brunswick’s first developed oilfield. But you’d be wrong. I’ve toured the Stoney Creek oilfield. I know people who experience gas fumes and headaches from wells that currently operate in that area. Others have strange illnesses.

Many private wells in Stoney Creek have bad water quality and quantity. Is this due to 100 years of oil drilling or because of natural contaminants? We don’t know. No one mapped aquifers or tested water back then. No one is mapping our aquifers now.

Proponents of industry say we do things better here in Canada. That we have more ‘stringent and rigorous rules’. Rules that call for setback of 250m from private homes and 500m from schools, yet a long-term health study from the University of Colorado found highly elevated risks for cancer and other diseases for those living within 750m of a gas well and a Duke University study found highly increased risk of methane contamination of water wells within 1km of gas wells.

Stringent? Rigorous?

I’ve toured Penobsquis too, and smelled fumes from the gas wells on the flood plains of the Kennebecasis River.

penobsquis

Wellpads in Penobsquis, NB

I’ve seen how close well pads are to each other and homes. I’ve talked with residents who spent $15,000 and 25,000 volunteer hours trying to resolve their water losses. Alone.

Ask them about the risks vs benefits. Ask them if the loss of water to 60 families was worth the 6 jobs the industry created.

And so I wonder what Hillsborough will look and smell like—what life will be like—if oil and gas development continues in Albert County.

The trouble is, our pastoral village lies in the crosshairs of an industry with a noxious reputation. And will be subjected to a process that no one can prove is safe.

In spring 2011 our province gave Contact Exploration the approval to bring into production up to 39 existing oil and gas wells in the Stoney Creek–Hillsborough area. Prior to releasing their new rules, the government approved the drilling of four more wells.

We have many unknowns: complex geology, a precarious water supply, the scale of future oil and gas development. Then there are the knowns: noise, pollution, truck traffic. The impact on property values, human health and well-being.

Recent research on the effects of shale gas development on property values shows that not only are properties devalued in the near vicinity of development, but also in neighbouring communities.

Our own Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eilish Cleary, expressed concerns for people living in close proximity to gas and oil development, and last fall made 30 recommendations necessary to prevent or mitigate impact on public health. Our government, however, has not yet issued a formal response or proposed action plan for these recommendations, and, in fact, only released it after public pressure to do so.

And then there is the economic well-being. We’re told New Brunswick stands to gain hundreds of jobs and billions in revenues from shale gas development. Perhaps you are like me and find this rather vague and loosey-goosey.

brody_cropA Cornell University team recently studied Pennsylvanian towns affected by oil and gas developments. Their report found that jobs were short-term and low-paying, when the drill teams moved on, those towns are economically worse off than before. I have yet to find a Happy Frack Town.

(Caveat: three government officials have spoken about talking to a happy PA organic farmer with gas wells on his property. One happy farmer. If they truly wanted to understand the impacts, perhaps they should have been talking to the unhappy ones.)

So, perhaps you might excuse me, instead of accuse me, for opposing oil and gas development in my area and in my province. Perhaps, instead of thinking of me a protestor, you may think of me as a protector.

Because it is not just my backyard.  This is a small province. It is actually your backyard too.

© copyright 2013 Deborah Carr

Shady Economics

Contributed by Jim Emberger, Taymouth Community Association

I’m here to talk about the economic case for shale gas, which I have subtitled, “Oh what
a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. “

The economic case works like this – First, get your friends in government to kill the
rules requiring you to have reasonable proof of the potential gas reserves that you quote to investors. It’s a much easier sell if you can just make them up. Once hooked keep the investors enthusiastic by issuing equally misleading figures about well production and life span.

Secondly, have your friends in government exempt you from health and safety
regulations, thus avoiding expensive safeguards, which if added to the already expensive process of hydrofracking would make shale gas unprofitable. In NB, that means getting your friends in government to gut the legislation covering wetlands, river classification, and clean air.

Third, sell the entire concept as a job creating enterprise, a free-lunch royalty source for
governments, and as an environmentally friendly, lower carbon emissions fuel.

Alas, even the cleverest business plans and ad campaigns eventually have to face
reality. Geologists slashed the claims about the size of gas plays. Auditors looking at actual well records slashed the advertised amount of gas being produced, and noted that most shale gas is produced in the first year or two of a well’s life.

Doctors pointed out rising health concerns, and regulators and citizens documented shale gas’ continuing history of well failures and contamination of air and water.

Economists cited evidence that the shale industry creates fewer jobs than does investment in alternative energy, and they noted that areas without shale development are doing better economically than their neighboring jurisdictions that have it.

Government budget officers noticed that royalties are not the free-lunch that they
expected. British Columbia’s shale gas based budget now has a $1 billion dollar hole in it from slumping royalties. Texas faces a $2 billion dollar unfunded bill for road repair
damage caused by the industry.

NB gets gas royalties too, from 30 plus gas wells run by Corridor Resources. In 2012 we received zero dollars.

Essentially, every economic factor for developing shale gas is a lie or is based on a lie.
It is incredible that we are still here today arguing about it.

Even if all the above wasn’t true, there is still this: scientists have shown that methane emissions from the shale gas lifecycle are at least twice industry estimates. Methane has a greater effect on climate change than CO2, thus making it worse than coal.

Last week, the UN Environmental Program reported that without immediate and drastic action to reduce emissions, we will experience the worst-case scenario – catastrophic and possibly runaway climate change – much sooner than forecast.

This is no surprise coming from scientists. But the financial institution, the World Bank, and global business accounting advisors, PriceWaterhouseCooper, both issued similar warnings based on their own research, thus joining the insurance industry, and much of the world’s military, in defining climate change as the number one threat facing the world.

So Mr. Alward and PC legislators, can you tell us exactly what is the economic case for destroying the planet?

Hillsborough Calls for a Stop to Drilling

We want to thank everyone who came out for our phenomenally successful Walk the Block on Monday night. About 200 people walked the streets of Hillsborough.  It was an awesome night with positive energy, song and dance.

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We succeeded:  Hillsborough council passed a resolution calling upon the Government of New Brunswick to stop all approved gas and oil activities; withdraw its approval of licenses to undertake the oil and gas exploration and development; and not renew existing licenses within 4km of village limits and 4 km from either of our water supplies, both above and below ground.

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In doing this, Hillsborough joins communities in Memramcook, Sackville, Sussex Corner, Hampton and others who have taken similar positions.

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Although this seems to be a statement for Hillsborough, it is also a statement for Albert County and for all rural communities in New Brunswick that do not want to become industrial zones.  Early on, our government stated publicly that they would ‘respect municipality wishes’ on such matters.

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There was a spot on CBC-TV with Jennifer Choi and a CBC article, as well (links below). Also, if you have online access to T&T, they did a great video, photo gallery and article on our request to the Health minister.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2013/03/05/nb-albert-county-fracking-tourism-march.html
(Some good supportive comments here, last time I looked…and a few
insulting ones, of course)
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/NB/ID/2340922718/

This issue is not just about our water. It is about our health, our environment, our lifestyle, property values – and about the future of our community. Research is now showing that oil/gas communities are worse off after the boom is over than they were before it started and that promises of economics and jobs have been overestimated. And that property values diminish, not only in development areas, but also in neighbouring communities.

_MG_2101_cropWhat options would we have in 10 or 15 years when the rush for gas is over? People did not move here to live in a mining town.  We are not tree-huggers, nor are we against economics or bringing New Brunswickers home from out west. We are property-owners and parents and should never have to apologize for caring about our children, our investments and about the place where we live.

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.

In response to:

What will fracking do to NB’s tourism?

During the public sessions held in Hillsborough last June, I stood at the microphone and asked the government panel if anyone had assessed the impact of this industry on tourism. I said that business owners have worked long and hard through good and bad tourism years in an effort to create, promote and build a viable eco-centered tourism industry based on our beautiful, unspoiled landscape and our unique asset: The Bay of Fundy. How did they think industrialization would impact that?

Silence met my question. They looked at each other and one member responded, ‘To my knowledge, we have not looked at that.”

Shortly after, I posed a question on the disposal of toxic and sometimes radioactive wastewater and was told the water was treated in Debert then dumped in the Bay of Fundy. “The Bay of Fundy??”  More silence.

While our government and the proponents of the oil and gas industry focus on the potential of this industry to solve all our economic woes, writer Hassan Arif compares that hoped-for gain against the economic cost to our environment and our tourism industry. Arif writes:

 “The massive industrial operations associated with fracking would fundamentally change the character of New Brunswick’s rural and natural landscapes. These landscapes are an attraction for tourism and (potentially) for new residents, as well as a being an important part of our province’s identity as a smaller province of pristine natural and rural landscapes….We need policy oriented to building a 21st-century creative economy with emphasis on investing in education, promoting high-tech and other entrepreneurial endeavours, and modernizing agriculture and forestry so they are sustainable enterprises in the 21st century.” .

Read his complete article here.