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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PM must stop push on Trans Mountain

Commentary by JIM EMBERGER – Telegraph Journal April 26, 2018

Protestor at Kinder Morgan Pipeline Rally, Vancouver, BC Sept 2017

In Canada, there is consensus that climate change is a threat, and certainly many of us have experienced its first effects – bizarre weather, flooding, wildfires, heat waves, droughts and displacement in the case of the Inuit. The World Health Organization tells us that climate change is the greatest threat to public health in this century.

Our federal government tells us we must severely limit the rise in the earth’s temperature. The Trudeau government even persuaded the international climate gathering in Paris that its proposed warming limit of 2°C was too risky. Canada asked to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Image: William Chen/Wikimedia Commons

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Respond to climate change, while we can

Commentary by Jim Emberger
Telegraph Journal January 12, 2018
(en français, Huffington Post, January 21, 2018)

During the recent frigid weather in North America, the University of Maine Climate Change Institute wrote that the average temperature for the entire earth was 0.5°C warmer than normal. The Arctic was 3.4ºC warmer.

Likewise sobering is that the first assessments of 2017 show it to be the second-hottest year on record (after 2016), and the hottest year that wasn’t enhanced by an El Niño event. Reports of disastrous floods, droughts, heat waves, melting polar ice, wildfires and high temperatures that reach the limits of human tolerance became commonplace.

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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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Tribute to water specialist, Stephanie Merrill

Jim Emberger & Stephanie Merrill

Jim Emberger & Stephanie Merrill

The struggle to keep unconventional gas and oil development (UNGOD) out of New Brunswick is a story filled with many actors, heroes and organizations, each playing important and vital roles.

However, for many of us involved in that struggle, the seeds for our victory were largely sown by a single person – Stephanie Merrill, the Water Specialist at the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.  What follows is our special tribute to Stephanie, who is now heading out to share her expertise with the Global Water Futures program at the University of Saskatchewan.

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Latest News & Studies on Fracking

Fracking and Water Contamination

Many of you may remember Dr. John Cherry, the internationally recognized expert on groundwater contamination, whom NBASGA brought to New Brunswick to testify at the Commission on Hydrofracturing. His testimony was very influential, as he pointed out that no place in the world was actually monitoring what happened to methane (and other substances) that leaked from shale gas wells. Thus, regulations were meaningless, as no one knew where methane was going or what effects it was causing.

Now, Dr. Cherry and colleagues have released the first study to track methane’s voyage through an aquifer, and they conclude that:

“methane gas leaking from energy industry wells can travel great distances in groundwater and pose safety risks, contaminate water and contribute to climate change.”

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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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