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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NBASGA Supports Elsipogtog Claim to Aboriginal Title

Kenneth Francis accepting solidarity statement on Aboriginal Title Claim from Jim Emberger, NBASGA @ NBEN Annual Meeting (photo Mark D'Arcy)

Kenneth Francis accepting solidarity statement on Aboriginal Title Claim from Jim Emberger, NBASGA @ NBEN Annual Meeting (photo Mark D’Arcy)

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance is proud to support the lawsuit filed by Elsipogtog First Nation, on behalf of the Mi’kmaq Nation, to claim Aboriginal title to the Mi’kma’ki district of Sikniktuk in New Brunswick.

Our support is grounded in many things. In recent history we have been allies against a common enemy that threatened all of us with the contamination of our water, air and land. Many of our members, both Anglophone and Francophone from around the province, stood with the people of Elsipogtog as they peacefully defended their land. Some were arrested alongside them and still others sent money and supplies to support the cause.

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Elsipogtog files Aboriginal title claim with NB courts

Commentary by Debra Hopper

Sock, Francis and McIvor answer questions IMG_4488

(l to r) Counsel Bruce McIvor, Elder Ken Francis, Chief Arren Sock

I would like to comment on a very important story that received a brief mention in the news on Nov. 9th. A press conference was held in Elsipogtog where Chief Arren Sock and Elder Kenneth Francis announced that a claim has been filed with the court that asserts the authority of the Mi’kmaq People over the land and the water in the Mi’kmaq territory in Eastern NB called Sikniktuk.

I am not Aboriginal, but I was filled with admiration and respect as I listened to the eloquence of these two men as they spoke of their ancestors, their culture, their community and their ties to the land.

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New Brunswick anti-shale gas activist wins inaugural environmental journalism award

We are happy to announce that NBASGA spokesperson, Jim Emberger, has won the first annual Beth McLaughlin Environmental Journalism Award for his extensive reporting on the dangers of hydraulic fracturing.

The panel of judges, selected by the Southeast Chapter of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, cited Emberger’s extensively researched writing for focusing attention on a significant environmental issue and helping to deepen public understanding of it.

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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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New Brunswick Extends Fracking Moratorium Indefinitely

On Friday, May 27, 2016, the Brian Gallant Liberal government announced that the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing would continue indefinitely. Below are links to NBASGA’s official Press Statement on the extended moratorium, and comments from spokesperson, Jim Emberger, as well as congratulatory notes from our supporters around the world.

This is a good day for the People, the Province, the Planet…and for our Democratic Process.

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