Fracking & Health

PC’s need clear energy and climate policy

Commentary by Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal, June 14, 2018

Last winter the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance asked the provincial party leaders for their views on energy, climate change, and the fracking moratorium. Everyone but the Progressive Conservatives responded. Additional requests to PC Leader Higgs for evidence to justify his plans to lift the moratorium, and to explain the process for lifting it, went unanswered.

Fortunately, Mr. Higgs was the first speaker in the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s series featuring party leaders, so last week I went there seeking answers.

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Progressive Conservative leader wrong on fracking

Commentary by Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal, 4 May 2018

The New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives’ plan to lift the moratorium on shale gas paints a disappointing portrait of a party unable to exercise even minimum due diligence on this issue.

The NB Anti-Shale Gas Alliance filed a lawsuit challenging the province’s embrace of shale gas in 2014, and unlike the PC’s, we have tracked every scientific study since then, from a handful to over 1,300 today. All can be found in the, “Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking.”

The evidence presented to the Commission on Hydrofracking from even the modest number of studies available in 2014 was strong enough to lead to our moratorium. Accumulating evidence presented to commissions in Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland, New York, Maryland, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, and others, likewise led to moratoriums or bans.

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Shale Gas as a Campaign Issue: There is just no reason to reexamine it

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fredericton, NB (April 26, 2018) – It was with great surprise and disappointment that the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance learned that the Progressive Conservative Party has decided to make shale gas an issue in the 2018 election.

“There is absolutely no basis on which to reconsider the current moratorium,” says spokesman Jim Emberger. “There is not a single one of the five conditions for lifting the moratorium that can be met.”  He also noted that a partial lifting is illogical saying, ”the problems associated with shale gas do not stay local. The air and water pollution, health problems, earthquakes and climate change effects of shale gas travel far from the well, and further than originally thought.”

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Risks of reorganizing Public Health

by JIM EMBERGER COMMENTARY  (Telegraph Journal/Miramichi Leadre, 29 Sept 2017)

On Aug. 31, the New Brunswick Minister of Health announced the transfer of many of the public health functions of the Office of Chief Medical Officer of Health to other government departments.

The government’s stated reasons are to streamline operations, increase efficiency, save taxpayer money and increase uniformity with other Atlantic provinces. This issue is now back in the news with a national group of doctors, affiliated with the Canadian Journal of Public Health, opposing this reorganization plan for New Brunswick.

However, then-minister Victor Boudreau did not furnish examples or explanations as to how these goals would be accomplished. The new minister, Benoît Bourque, must do so, because common sense and experience suggest that this move will have exactly the opposite effects.

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Stop chasing a fossil fuel dinosaur

Commentary by Jim Emberger (Fredericton Gleaner, 7 February 2017)

Donald Trump’s resurrection of the Keystone pipeline has some pundits worried that Energy East may be cancelled. This in turn has some editorialists calling for a return to shale gas as New Brunswick’s saviour.

Apparently they have forgotten that five conditions must be met before the shale gas moratorium can be lifted. New studies furnish examples why those conditions are unlikely to be met.

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Let’s close the door on shale gas development once and for all

Commentary by Jim Emberger (Fredericton Gleaner, Nov 23, 2016)

We applaud the Gallant government’s decision to amend the Clean Environment Act to ban the disposal of fracking wastewater in municipal and provincial sewage treatment systems.    The scientific studies behind the decision have long noted that municipal wastewater systems were not designed to deal with industrial waste. They cannot remove substances for which they were not designed and the plants themselves can be damaged.

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Social license is not easily granted

Jim Emberger Commentary, Telegraph Journal July 12,2016

In the government’s mandate to the Commission on Hydrofracturing were five instructions, including how to obtain ‘social license’. While there is no legal definition of that term, social license is, in essence, the citizenry’s informed decision on whether or not to proceed with an industry based on an evaluation of the risks and benefits.

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Recent news on fracking

In encouraging local news, The Environmental Advisory Committee, established by the Provincial Government of PEI to create a new Water Act, has recommended banning fracking in PEI.  This conforms to the trend of the last few years, as the case against shale gas and fracking grows with each new study, regardless of topic – water contamination, public health, earthquakes, climate change, etc.

Recently, news on fracking has taken a decided about-face from the many stories previously singing its praises. The truth is beginning to emerge.

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The other side of risk and science in shale gas

Jim Emberger Commentary, Telegraph Journal, 27 March 2016

Krista Ross’ [Fredericton Chamber of Commerce] recent commentary (12 March 2016) suggested that New Brunswick’s citizens are too unsophisticated to understand the science behind the risks surrounding shale gas, making them easy targets for shale gas opponents to manipulate with fear.

These condescending assertions are, fortunately, easy to dismiss. Our Alliance continues to direct the public to the hundreds of independent scientific studies that are now collected into a Compendium available at: http://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/.

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NBASGA Statement on the New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing Report

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance provides the following statement about the report issued last Friday by the New Brunswick Commission on Hydrofracturing.

The Commissioners recognized that the discussion about shale gas had to be looked at in the contexts of the immediate need to combat climate change, the lack of a coherent and forward-looking energy policy for the province, and the inadequacy of current institutions and procedures in New Brunswick to deal with either shale gas or with the new realities of a low-carbon world.

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