Phased-in shale gas could deter industry in New Brunswick says lobby group CAPP

Phased-in shale gas could deter industry, lobby group says, Investors may move on if they can’t move quickly by CBC News, October 16, 2012
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says a go-slow approach to shale gas development in New Brunswick could deter the industry in the province. A report released Monday by the provincial government recommended a phased-in approach to developing the contentious shale gas industry in New Brunswick. …  Paul Barnes, CAPP manager for Atlantic Canada, says he’s looking for more information on the chief medical officer of health’s report before commenting. Paul Barnes, the manager of CAPP for Atlantic Canada, said he needs to get clarification on that point before he can comment on whether the oil-and-gas lobby group can live with the report as a whole. Industry players who are ready to invest if they find shale gas might decide not to if they can’t move quickly, he said. Still, “at first glance, it appears to be a fairly balanced report,” Barnes said. He likes the emphasis on a science-based approach, he added.

Barnes declined to comment on the report by the province’s chief medical officer of health, also released Monday. He said he needed time to review the report more thoroughly and to get more details at a news conference scheduled for Tuesday. Dr. Eilish Cleary’s 84-page report concluded there are social and community health risks to the shale gas industry. She recommended requiring a health impact assessment and monitoring the health of the population on an ongoing basis to detect adverse impacts. The cost of implementing her recommendations could be absorbed by the industry, she said. Energy and Mines Minister Craig Leonard called LaPierre’s phased-in approach “intriguing.” “Let the science speak for itself. When we get to the end of that time period, you’d be able to know whether it’s feasible to move forward on a larger scale,” he said.

Regardless of the reports’ recommendations, the Opposition Liberals will continue to push for a moratorium, said Interim Leader Victor Boudreau. … Green Party Leader David Coon said he agrees that the provincial government should impose a moratorium on the industry. “We believe that you can’t make shale gas and fracking safe with regulations. And besides, it’s a fossil fuel. And he seems to have forgotten we have a climate crisis.”

“Our doubts stem from the demonstrated inability of the Alward government to abide by [the rules],” Cardy said in a statement. “The Alward government broke its own wetlands regulations in May 2011, and has failed to acknowledge that provincial pension investments in tobacco violate international law. “A regulatory regime is not worth the paper it is printed on if it is ignored by the very people who should enforce it,” he said.

Stephanie Merrill, the fresh water program co-ordinator for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, said citizens have already said what they want. “How many concerns is enough? How much risk is enough? How many people have to say ‘No’ before a ‘No’ is considered a valid answer?” Merrill asked. [Emphasis added]

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