Shale gas won’t change N.B.’s fiscal woes

by Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal   Sept. 21,2018   Featured Letter

The recent Atlantica Centre for Energy commentary about making N.B. a “have” province, by comparing it to Saskatchewan, uses only one financial figure. It predicts that shale gas could provide $900 million annually to our economy.

This is a hopeful speculation.

Perhaps examining some actual figures would be more instructive.

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Realism should guide energy development

ROD HILL COMMENTARY, Telegraph Journal, 18 September 2018

According to a story, still popular in some quarters, exploiting shale gas reserves in New Brunswick will provide jobs and lots of money for the public purse. The popularity of a story with such a seemingly happy ending is easy to understand. But is the story true, or is it wishful thinking?

In a recent article,“It’s time to make NB a ‘have’ province” (Sept. 14), Colleen Mitchell of the Atlantica Centre for Energy claims it’s true. She writes that while Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia have received billions in royalty revenues from offshore oil and gas, this “is critical revenue that New Brunswick has been shut out of,”  apparently preferring “handouts” to exploiting our mining, oil and gas resources.

The recently released Progressive Conservative party platform seems to agree with this view, stating: “Subject to rigorous safety and environmental protections, and with local support, we will allow for regional resource development, including natural gas development.”

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Maintain the NB Moratorium

PC Platform Plank on Resource Development is Without Substance

For Immediate Release
Sept. 13, 2018

[Le français suit]

(Fredericton) With less than two weeks left until the election, the Progressive Conservatives’ finally released their party platform. It contains a single sentence supporting ‘regional resource development.’  The words ‘shale’, ‘fracking’ and ‘moratorium’ do not appear in the document.

It is clearly designed to mask the PC’s plan to lift the moratorium on fracking without arousing citizens who fought a bitter battle to stop fracking during the last election.

Jim Emberger, Spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA), warns that, “The platform statement is a catch phrase without benefit of details, designed to mute discussion of a contentious and deadly serious issue during the election,” adding that, “the language is so vague because the PC’s are aware of the continued widespread opposition to shale gas development.  They don’t want the issue examined too closely.”

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Before you Vote

The New Brunswick Election is September 24 (Early polls September 15, 17) and hydraulic fracturing is once more an issue of interest to New Brunswickers.

Before you vote, consider this: There are many issues to be considered when choosing how to vote. Sometimes we have to choose between two parties, each of which has some positions you support, and some you don’t.

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Tories are incoherent on ‘regional social license’

Commentary by Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal, 13 Sept 2018

The freshly released Progressive Conservatives platform contains only a single sentence on shale gas, and leaves “regional social license” – mooted by leader Blaine Higgs in April – entirely unexplained.

Even without adequate detail in the platform, the very concept is a clear case of putting the cart before the horse.

The shale gas moratorium’s first condition sensibly dictates that, before social license can be granted, citizens must receive “clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on public health, the environment and water.”

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Clean energy jobs growing while fossil fuel jobs declining

“The Declining Business Case for Fracking”
By Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal, 24 August 2018

At a recent oil and gas industry conference, Terry Spencer, head of natural gas infrastructure company, ONEOK, told the audience, “One of these days, one of these big ol’ fracs will be operated with nobody there.”

“We are, as an industry, working towards where we can operate 24/7, unattended.”

He wasn’t forecasting the distant future.

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Keep fracking ban to slow climate change

Commentary by Jim Emberger, Telegraph Journal, 24 July 2018

It was gratifying to see a recent article acknowledging that climate change has already changed our weather, and that weather-related problems will become ever more frequent and severe (“Not .. our grandparents’ weather, July 14, A2).

In the piece, a senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, David Phillips, laid out in no-nonsense terms that New Brunswickers will be challenged to adapt to our increasingly confused climate.

Warnings and good advice about adapting are a necessary discussion, but the real conversation we need to be having on climate change is about ‘preventing’ the growing threats from a changed climate.

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La tactique de diversion n’efface pas les faits.

par Denise Melanson, L’acadie nouvelle, 9 juillet 2018

Récemment, Colleen Mitchell, la présidente du groupe Atlantica Centre for Energy, a uni sa voix à celle de Blaine Higgs le chef du parti Progressiste Conservateur pour réclamer la fin du moratoire sur la fracturation. Elle prétend que le gouvernement libéral ne fait pas le travail nécessaire pour se conformer aux conditions menant à sa levée.  Elle se limite toutefois à ne mentionner que deux des cinq conditions, soit  le renforcement de la règlementation portant sur la fracturation et l’élaboration d’une structure pour les redevances.

Fait étrange, les conditions primordiales portant sur l’impact de la fracturation sur la santé publique et sur l’environnement ainsi que la nécessité d’un traitement acceptable des eaux usées sont passées sous silence.

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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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