Within a week of Premier Blaine Higgs’ “Big Reveal” to the press that they have put necessary exemptions in place to lift the moratorium on fracking in Penobsquis, First Nations Chiefs, feeling blindsided by the move, are clear that any change in the status of the moratorium does not have their consent. As well, the New Brunswick Lung Association and the New Brunswick Federation of Labour have issued clear statements of their support for maintaining the moratorium.

We thank them all for their leadership and support. Read their reasons below:

Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Inc. (MTI)

MIRAMICHI (June 6, 2019) – The Chiefs of Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Inc. (MTI) were blindsided by the decision of the Higgs government to lift the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Sussex area without consent, consultation, or input from First Nations in New Brunswick.

In 2016, the New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing released its Final Report. The Commission urged the Province of New Brunswick, to rebuild its relationship with Indigenous Peoples, and to adopt a nation-to-nation consultation process with First Nations, which would include a cumulative impact assessment, and Indigenous-led research and monitoring. Theymade this a condition that must be met before any moratorium could be lifted. It seems the Higgs government has unilaterally decided to ignore the advice of these experts, as well as others in law and science, and allow this industry to proceed without any regard for what the Commission proposed.

“Fracking remains an issue of serious concern to our Mi’gmaq communities. This Premier must remember that First Nations have never ceded our lands and waters in this province. The Mi’gmaq, and the Fort Folly First Nation continue to fish, hunt, and gather on the lands and waters of the Kennebecasis River, and the Sussex and Penobsquis area. For us, water is sacred, and anything that pollutes our lands and waters is like a knife to the heart of Mother Earth,” said Chief Rebecca Knockwood of Fort Folly First Nation and Co-Chair of MTI.

Read the rest here.

New Brunswick Lung Association

Position Statement issued by Dr. Barb MacKinnon, June 12, 2019:

The New Brunswick Lung Association supports a precautionary approach to development of  unconventional natural gas deposits in New Brunswick. This includes supporting a moratorium on the development, and production of unconventional natural gas until:

  • The provincial government implements the recommendations of New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • The outcomes of implementation of the above recommendations indicate that hydraulic fracturing can be conducted in a way that does not negatively impact the health, well-being, social economic status and right of enjoyment of property of people living in New Brunswick.
  • A third-party independent agency provides a full-life-cycle comprehensive and realistic cost/ benefit analysis of the expected revenues and all costs to New Brunswickers that can be used to make a decision to proceed, or not, with Shale Gas development.

Full paper (.pdf) with backgrounder here.

New Brunswick Federation of Labour

(For Immediate Release June 13, 2019)

The New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL) lends its voice to civil society, indigenous peoples, healthcare professionals and many other community groups in opposition to the lifting of the moratorium of shale gas exploration, drilling and hydraulic fracking activity in the province of New Brunswick.

The provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador have already imposed a moratorium on new fracking exploration. Other provinces and regions are also now investigating the risks and effects of fracking. A resolution that was introduced at the New Brunswick Federation of Labour convention in summer of 2013, calling for the moratorium, was adopted unanimously at that time.

“Hydraulic fracking technology raises a number of environmental, health and safety and Indigenous treaty rights concerns.” says Daniel Legere, President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour.

David Dudley, NBFL Vice-President Responsible for Health, Safety, and Environment agrees and says parties must work together to protect precious resources.

“The labour movement has a responsibility to work with Indigenous communities and progressive New Brunswickers to protect our water supply and environment for generations to come,” he said.

NBFL feels strongly that the moratorium must stay in place until all risks associated are assessed.

“The moratorium should stay in place until such time as the safety and environmental risks associated with fracking have been adequately addressed, and until Indigenous communities have given full informed consent for fracking activity on their traditional lands,” says Legere.

Full news release here.