Shale gas produces fractured lines in New Brunswick

Shale gas produces fractured lines in New Brunswick by Yadullah Hussain, October 26, 2012, Financial Post
While some analysts have dismissed New Brunswick’s potential as an oil and gas hub, two reports last week once again brought the issue of shale gas development to the forefront. Many New Brunswickers are opposed to shale gas development; they worry about water contamination, health risks, security of fresh water supply and the province’s idyllic rural way of life.

Meanwhile, Dr. Eilish Cleary, the province’s chief medical officer, warned in her report about the side-effects of a boom. “Although the word ‘Boomtown’ may seem very positive, the ‘Boomtown Effect’ refers to a series of potential negative outcomes on individual and community well-being that can result following a sudden and dramatic increase in industrial activity and the large influx of people that comes with it,” warns Dr. Clearly, highlighting increased traffic accidents, and higher rates of crime, drug and alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted infections and domestic violence as some of the fallout of a potential boom.

Spanish giant Repsol SA., which operates the LNG import terminal in Saint John, is reportedly looking to sell its stake and has at least six players — from China, Spain, the United Kingdom, Russia and France — interested in the asset. But the government will have to get a ‘social licence’ from New Brunswickers before natural gas can be extracted from the ground via fracking, let alone shipped to places such as India and China.

“We actually don’t support the industry at all in New Brunswick,” says Stephanie Merrill, a spokeswoman for the influential Conservation Council of New Brunswick, which has spearheaded the province’s environmental drive for more than 40 years. [Emphasis added]

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