Anti Fracking Message given to Legislators, 400 Citizens from various parts of the province brave cold to show concerns about government policy on shale gas, New Brunswick to weigh in on shale gas development

Shale gas strategy may add new regulatory agencies, Energy Minister Craig Leonard says a natural gas blueprint is coming in spring 2013 by CBC News, November 28, 2012
The New Brunswick government is pushing forward with a new regulatory regime to oversee any future development of the shale gas industry, Energy and Mines Minister Craig Leonard announced in the legislature on Wednesday. … Opponents to shale gas exploration have called for an outright ban on the contentious industry, while the Opposition Liberals have indicated a moratorium is needed until more research can be done. The province’s energy minister said those options are not viable. … Leonard said he will release a blueprint for the oil and gas sector in the spring of 2013 “in advance of expected exploration activities.” The upcoming shale gas strategy will set standards for water usage, construction activities, monitoring standards for natural gas sites and staffing guidelines to guarantee proper inspection and environmental oversight of natural gas projects. The shale gas industry could also see new regulatory agencies crop up in the province. Leonard said he will look at the creation of an Oil and Gas Commission and an Oil and Gas Secretariat, which were both recommended in Louis LaPierre’s report. “We agree that public health, environmental protection and optimized land use are priorities and will investigate how to best manage these areas,” he said.

The government is starting talks now with the province’s universities to set up an independent research institute that will study the natural gas sector. Such an institute is another recommendation from the LaPierre report.  Louis LaPierre released his report on the shale gas industry in October. “Recognizing that the lack of peer-reviewed information in the public domain has created confusion over this issue, discussions will be initiated with New Brunswick universities to determine the best manner in which we can move forward with this recommendation, as we believe that academia can, and must, play a key role in developing our own knowledge base for natural gas right here at home,” he said. The energy and mines minister said the provincial government needs to look closely at the opportunities provided by the shale gas industry. It is estimated that there could be 80 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in New Brunswick and the province says it could be economical to extract 15 trillion cubic feet of that gas. Citing U.S. Department of Energy statistics, Leonard said that would be enough gas to heat every New Brunswick home for 630 years or to supply all of the province’s residential, commercial and industrial needs for more than 100 years. “This needs to be considered along with the fact that New Brunswick’s current natural gas supply from offshore Nova Scotia is running out,” he said. “Estimates vary but without a domestic source, we will be facing serious supply issues within five to 10 years in our province.”

Anti Fracking Message given to Legislators, 400 Citizens from various parts of the province brave cold to show concerns about government policy on shale gas by Roy MacMullin, November 27, 2012, Moncton Free Press
About 400 citizens gathered at the Legislature after a walk in protest of government policies on shale gas development.  Weather was described  as “quite cold”.  The march started at the old burial grounds on Woodstock Road and took close to an hour to wind its way to the Legislature.

November 2011 CBC survey (1800 responses) 80 percent said environmental concerns outweigh the desire for revenue from fracking, and 61 percent: (consistent with a national poll) called for a total ban on hydraulic fracturing
Dec 2011 More than 20,000 petitioned the Alward  government to abandon shale gas development. Alward’s gagged government turned us down.
March  2012  Corporate Research Associates Inc. Poll: “When New Brunswickers were asked if they still worry about the environmental impacts of hydrofracking for shale gas, even with regulations, 79 percent agreed.”

Another speaker was Jim Emberger of the Taymouth Commity Association “on the economic case for shale gas” subtitle –  “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?

A group of supporters of natural gas (pro-shale gas) numbering about 40 people were also present with their own agenda of speakers. [Emphasis added]

N.B. to weigh in on shale gas development by Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press, November 28, 2012, The Chronicle Herald
New Brunswick Premier David Alward is promising to deliver a blueprint this fall that will lay out how his government plans to proceed with shale gas development, an issue that has triggered roars of protests for months. Alward made the commitment in his throne speech Thursday to kick off the fall legislative session, just as supporters and opponents of the shale gas industry rallied outside the provincial legislature. He said the oil and natural gas blueprint will ensure a regulatory system is in place that includes adequate monitoring and enforcement before the province allows the industry to grow. “Those are all things that we need to address to ensure that if we are able to develop natural gas in the future that we are going to have as big a benefit as we possibly can for New Brunswickers,” Alward told a news conference before Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas delivered the speech.

“New Brunswickers have not given consent to moving forward with a shale gas industry,” said Mark Darcy. “More than 20,000 New Brunswickers signed a petition a year ago, and we’re still waiting for government to have public consultation before moving ahead with the industry.” … “New Brunswickers have a lot of questions that have yet to be answered and they are good questions,” Gallant said. “Developing our economy is a priority, but so is our drinking water.”

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