Commentary by Jim Emberger; Telegraph Journal, Daily Gleaner, Times Transcript | March 11, 202

In a recent com­ment­ary in the Telegraph Journal, the Fraser Insti­tute’s Alex Whalen sug­ges­ted that the recent mer­ger of gas com­pany Ches­apeake Energy and SWN could be a sign that New Brun­swick should recon­sider its morator­ium on shale gas. He touted its eco­nomic poten­tial.

That same day Reu­ters’ news repor­ted: “Ches­apeake Energy announced plans to cut pro­duc­tion by 30 per cent in 2024 in response to a mar­ket that is “clearly over­sup­plied”. Ches­apeake, which will become the coun­try’s largest gas sup­plier after its mer­ger with South­west­ern Energy, is fol­low­ing oth­ers, includ­ing Com­stock, Antero and EQT, announ­cing cuts to drilling or pro­duc­tion plans.”

Then on March 4, the Insti­tute of Energy Eco­nom­ics and Fin­an­cial Ana­lysis pub­lished an ana­lysis entitled: “Cana­dian LNG (liquid nat­ural gas) expan­sion does not make sense, regard­less of U.S. LNG pause.”

This reflec­ted the facts that European gas demand has decreased, and every nation on earth just agreed to trans­ition away from fossil fuels at COP28 in order to address the cli­mate crisis. Nat­ural gas is 86 times as power­ful as CO2 in warm­ing the planet. Often it (espe­cially as LNG) is worse than coal for the cli­mate.

Of course, Whalen doesn’t men­tion the cli­mate as a risk. He actu­ally doesn’t men­tion any risks by name, but only asserts that all prob­lems can be handled. Yet, shale’s well-doc­u­mented, ser­i­ous prob­lems with health, water, wastewa­ter, air pol­lu­tion and earth­quakes remain well-doc­u­mented and unsolved. The rest of Whalen’s “facts” on the bene­fits of gas are equally ques­tion­able.

Sci­ence, and the real­ity of global eco­nom­ics, argue against shale gas in New Brun­swick, des­pite the fantas­ies of its pro­ponents. The last thing the province needs is to begin an industry with a troubled present and a dead end future. It is time for a per­man­ent ban.

Jim Emberger, Spokesperson
New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance