Campaigns and Information from Groups
Campaigns and Information from Groups

Campaigns and Information from Groups (46)

Thursday, 10 April 2014 14:28

Only a Matter of Time

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Only a Matter of Time

1. Most people, including politicians and resource-sector executives, consider issues on time-scales of hours to years, but earth scientists routinely deal with natural processes that occur over decades to millions of years. The issue, and consequences, of hydraulic fracturing properly belong in the latter category.

2. A time-bomb is a device that is set to cause destruction to people or property at some time in the future, after the agent that set the device is remote, in space and/or time, from its destructive effects. Conventional time-bombs have fuses that are hours to days in length, but environmental time-bombs have “fuses” that are decades to millennia in length.

3. Arsenic poisoning of the groundwater in Waverley, NS, in the 1970s, for example, was the unanticipated legacy of the gold-mining time-bomb set in the 1870s. Its arsenic- and mercury-contaminated mine tailings still constitute present-day environmental problems and future clean-up costs (Parsons et al. 2012). Those human-health and remediation costs are borne by people today, not the gold-mining companies of yesteryear. Fool us once, resource-extraction industry – shame on you.

4. Naturally occurring, deep-seated, low-viscosity materials (e.g., gas, petroleum, brine) always migrate upwards to lower pressure. The toxic cocktail of man-made fracking fluids will behave in exactly the same way. This migration of fluids is subject only to D’Arcy’s Law, which states that the fluid flow rate is directly proportional to the permeability (k), the hydraulic pressure gradient (dh/dL), and the cross-sectional area of the flow (A), and not to unscientific claims of safety by the petroleum industry.

5. Fracking deliberately destroys the impermeability (k=0) of rocks containing oil and gas; once their permeability is greater than zero (k>0), all fluids, both natural and synthetic, begin their upward migration, even if the well casing is properly sealed. In the absence of any stratigraphically higher impermeable horizons, those fluids will have hydraulic connectivity with the surface and must eventually reach the groundwater system (Vengosh et al. 2013).

6. “The complexities of contaminant transport from hydraulically fractured shale to near-surface aquifers render estimates uncertain, but a range of interpretive simulations suggest that transport times could be decreased from geologic time scales to as few as tens of years. Preferential flow through natural fractures [and] fracking-induced fractures could further decrease the travel times…” (Myers, 2012).

7. For balance, Flewelling and Sharma (2014) offer the expected, contrary, dismissive, industry-funded view.

8. Fluid migration times are longer than the history of fracking in relatively shallow horizontal wells, but it’s only a matter of time until the fracking fluids reach the groundwater system. What goes down, must come up. The petroleum industry already knows this. How else to explain the Bush-Cheney “Halliburton exemption” from the anti-pollution provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act in the USA?

9. Poisoning of the groundwater again in Nova Scotia could, therefore, become the undesirable 2114 legacy of a fracking time-bomb set in 2014, but by that time the frackers will be long gone with their environmentally untaxed profits, and future generations will be left to pay in terms of their health and their taxes again. Fool us twice, resource-extraction industry – shame on us.

10. Humans can, and eventually must, live without fossil fuels, but never without water. So, where will the people of North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Brunswick migrate when their groundwater becomes irretrievably contaminated by fracking fluids, except to pristine places such as Nova Scotia, which had the prudence and good sense to reject hydraulic fracturing in 2014?

D. Barrie Clarke, Adjunct, Department of Earth Sciences Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

Much of the objective scientific information that the Hydraulic Fracturing Panel needs to consider is available on-line in places such as the Council of Canadian Academies panel website:
and (in English) from Germany’s premier geological research institute (GeoForschungsZentrum-Potsdam): http:// /
Also, because the shale gas issue should not be considered in isolation, I highly recommend Energy for Future Presidents by Richard A. Muller (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012, ISBN 978-0-393-34510-0) as a comprehensive and highly readable account of all current and future energy options.

Flewelling, S. A. and Sharma, M., 2014. Constraints on upward migration of hydraulic fracturing fluid and brine. Groundwater 52, 9-19. doi: 10.1111/gwat.12095
Myers, T. 2012. Potential contaminant pathways from hydraulically fractured shale to aquifers. Groundwater 50, 872-882. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2012.00933
Parsons, M.B., LeBlanc, K.W.G., Hall, G.E.M., Sangster, A.L., Vaive, J.E., and Pelchat, P., 2012. Environmental geochemistry of tailings, sediments and surface waters collected from 14 historical gold mining districts in Nova Scotia; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 7150. doi:10.4095/291923
Vengosh, A., Warner, N., Jackson, R., and Darrah, T., 2013. The effects of shale gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing on the quality of water resources in the United States. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science 7, 863-866. doi: 10.1016/j.proeps.2013.03.213

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank G.B., J.C., J.D., A.F., A.M., D.P., M.P., and J.W. for their constructive comments on this document.
Delta Hotel Fredericton - March 20 2014

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the Voice of the People Tour kick-off.

Who are we? Firstly, the Voice of the People Tour is being organized by concerned citizens through various community organizations: the Council of Canadians, the New Brunswick Anti Shale Gas Alliance, the Fredericton District Labour Council and Unifor. We are working
together to bring these important issues to the people in our communities.

The Voice of the People Tour will be coming to communities in every corner of the province. We want to hear your voice!

The purpose of our tour is to provide public education about shale gas and clean energy.

We will be asking the people in our communities:

  • • Do we know everything we need to about shale gas?
  • • Is shale gas the only way to create jobs?
  • • What do you want in your backyard?

The town hall meetings will provide an overview of scientific evidence of the effects of shale gas development, specifically hydraulic fracturing of shale gas. We also want to discuss possible alternatives to shale gas development, namely clean energy and clean jobs.

Our concerns are broadly shared. We are here today in solidarity with many other organizations who have given their endorsement to the Voice of the People Tour. Why? Because they too are concerned with the dangers of shale gas and the lack of consultation with the people.  

These organizations are:



Fredericton and District Labour Council

The New Brunswick Federation of Labour

New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

Council of Canadians

Conservation Council of New Brunswick

The National Farmers Union

And more...

The tour will highlight why so many organizations and people are against shale gas, including 130 New Brunswick municipalities, community organizations, and professional associations. Most recently, many labour unions have called for a Provincial/national moratorium on shale gas development.

Why have the citizens organized this tour? Because we believe that the peoples' voice is vital in democracy. Over the past 4 years there has been little to no consultation or public meetings initiated by the government, nor by industry. So, people are organizing themselves. Also, there has been no consultation with the First Peoples of this land.

In addition, the Government of New Brunswick has failed to provide the public with peer reviewed scientific evidence of the harmful effects of shale gas fracking, and shale gas development. The people are not getting the information they need.

The Premier would have us believe that shale gas is the only way to create jobs in this Province. We know this is not true. In fact, according to Blue-Green Canada, for the same investment there are seven times more jobs created with clean energy and building efficiency than with the oil and gas industry.

For example, The 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry report showed that there were double the number of clean energy workers compared with the number of natural gas workers in neighbouring shale gas state of Pennsylvania. 80,000 jobs were created in the clean energy versus 40,000 jobs in the natural gas sector.

Clean jobs and green energy are possible and more financially viable and long term. Shale gas jobs disappear once the wells are drilled.

It makes more sense for New Brunswick to invest in clean energy alternatives instead of shale gas. It's safer and creates more jobs. To do otherwise would be a lost opportunity for our Province.

We believe the people will be the problem solvers in this tour.

The people have this responsibility.

Signed - The Voice of the People Coalition

The following are the words of Passamaquoddy Elder Hugh Akagi. He presented at the 'Energy For Everyone' initiative, run recently in Saint John.
The purpose of this toolkit is to help people and communities fight fracking, protect water and public health, and curb climate change. It was inspired in response to the inquiries the Council of Canadians receives from people who have just heard that fracking is happening in their community and don’t know what to do about it.

The first section of the toolkit provides a summary of fracking in Canada’s provinces and territories and includes information about the current state of fracking, laws related to fracking – such as permit requirements for water takings and drilling – and what community actions are already underway. The second section contains ideas and suggestions about what you can do to fight fracking, including case studies and how to pass a resolution against fracking. This section also includes public education tools such as social media tips and sample letters to the editor.

You can find it here.
Le Devoir gaz de schiste INSPQ Article in French (See attached) basically stating that the Public Health Institute of Quebec has ruled (reported January 31 in Le Devoir, daily paper from Montreal) that fracking for natural gas, during its exploration and development pose real risks for the health of citizens and its environment. ONe more confirmation that fracking is a dangerous practice, for people and the environment!

This easy to read 3 page article looks at the Public Health Institute article written in September 2013, but only posted on their website in January 2014. The report addresses the risks to water contamination and air pollution as they affect the health of the local population. There is a moratorium on fracking in Quebec.

The following are the words of Passamaquoddy Elder Hugh Akagi. He presented at the 'Energy For Everyone' initiative, run recently in Saint John.
For Immediate Release: October 3, 2013
Pour diffusion immédiate (French text follows)
Shale Gas Activity is Based on Discredited Dr. Louis
LaPierre’s Report:
Angry New Brunswickers Petition Province’s Ombudsman for
A group of twenty-nine (29) individuals representing sixteen (16) rural and urban
communities in southern and central New Brunswick have jointly petitioned the Province’s
Ombudsman, Charles Murray, to investigate the process behind the decision to grant licences
to test for shale gas deposits. “Our natural environment is under attack from so many threats
we simply cannot afford to make any more major mistakes. If invalid research has been used
to make environmental policy decisions, this research must be reviewed immediately and
rectified. We urge your Office to act on this matter at once, for the sake of all future
generations in New Brunswick,” the petitioners said in a joint statement.
The petitioners – all residents, voters and taxpayers of this Province – have made a formal
written complaint to the Ombudsman via registered mail. They have serious doubts about the
merit of Dr. LaPierre's recommendations in The Path Forward, in light of questions about his
integrity, expertise and education. They are concerned about errors of omission and
commission that may have resulted in invalid or biased findings that were used by the
government to formulate policies that may be hazardous to the health of New Brunswickers
and the environment.
The petitioners ask the Ombudsman to protect the public from risk of harm by using his
powers under the Ombudsman Act to investigate the work done by Dr. Louis LaPierre while
he was under contract to Minister of Energy Craig Leonard. As a preliminary measure, the
petitioners have asked Ombudsman Murray to immediately recommend to the Premier and
Government of the Province that an interim moratorium be placed on all activities associated
with the testing for, exploration of, or development of, shale gas and oil, until a full
investigation has been completed.
Media Contacts:
Ann Pohl, 506-785-2998 or
Donald MacDonald, 506-367-2466
Marilyn Lerch, 506-536-4245
Pour diffusion immédiate: 3 octobre 2013
Les activités reliées au gaz de schiste sont fondés sur le rapport du
Dr. Louis Lapierre qui fut discrédité:
Les Néo-Brunswickois pétitionnent l'Ombudsman du Nouveau-
Brunswick pour une enquête.
Un groupe de vingt-neuf (29) individus représentant seize (16) communautés urbaines et
rurales du sud et centre du Nouveau-Brunswick ont conjointement pétitionné l'Ombudsman
provincial, Charles Murray, pour faire enquête sur le processus utilisé afin d'accorder un
permis pour tester pour des dépots de gaz de schiste. “Notre environnement naturel est sous
attaque de tellement de menaces, nous ne pouvons simplement pas commettre aucune autre
erreur importante. Si des recherches invalides ont été utilisées pour prendre des décisions de
politique environnementale, cette recherche doit être immédiatement révisée et rectifiée.
Nous implorons votre Cabinet d'agir sur ce dossier immédiatement, pour le bien des
générations futures du Nouveau-Brunswick“, ont dit les pétitionnaires dans une déclaration
Les pétitionnaires – tous résidents, électeurs et contribuables de cette province – ont déposé
une plainte formelle écrite à l'Ombudsman par courrier enregistré. Ils ont de sérieux doutes
par rapport au mérite des recommandations du Dr. Lapierre dans 'La Voie de l'Avenir', à la
suite des questions sur son intégrité, expertise et éducation. Ils sont inquiets des erreurs
d'omission et de commission qui auraient pu causer des conclusions invalides ou biaisées, ce
qui pourraient être dangereux pour la santé des Néo-Brunswickois et l'environnement.
Les pétitionnaires demandent à l'Ombudsman de protéger le public contre les risques de
dommages en exécutant ses pouvoirs sous la loi sur l'Ombudsman pour enquêter le travail
accompli par le Dr. Louis Lapierre alors qu'il était sous contrat pour le Ministre de l'Énergie
Craig Leonard. Comme mesure préliminaire, les pétitionnaires ont demandé à l'Ombudsman
Murray de faire une recommandation immédiate au Premier Ministre et au Gouvernement de
la Province qu'un moratoire par intérim soit placé sur toutes les activités associées à l'analyse,
l'exploration ou développement de l'huile et gaz de schiste, jusqu'à ce qu'une enquête
complète soit complétée.
- 30 -
Contact pour les médias:
Ann Pohl, 506-785-2998 or
Donald MacDonald, 506-367-2466
Marilyn Lerch, 506-536-4245

Here is a summary and associated links for the Maude Barlow Grassroots Guardians event at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton on August 6. Feel free to share.

Grassroots Guardians:  Why Protecting New Brunswick from Shale Gas Development is Everyone’s Responsibility
On August 6, Council of Canadians National Chairperson, Maude Barlow spoke to over 500 people at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, New Brunswick on the need for all people and cultures to come together in a quest to protect our land, air and water. 
Part 1:  Patricia Leger, of Memramcook Action, speaks to the intensive work and solidarity of many groups and volunteers across the province of New Brunswick, who are collaborating in opposition to hydro-fracking for gas and oil. Deborah Carr of Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County spoke to the situation in the Moncton area and the potential for developments in south-eastern New Brunswick, giving the reasons why this is not just a rural issue.

Part 2 – Ron Tremblay, of Maliseet First Nations, begins speaking in his native tongue because his grandfather always told him to speak first in his own language when he talks.  Then, in English, using the stories of his culture, he explains the need for all people to take a stand to protect our shared Mother Earth. He talks about polluted rivers and his arrestas he stood at the junction of Routes 116 and 126 to block seismic thumper trucks. He shares the prophecies of the elders that the people will reach a crossroads and if we advance beyond, there will be no turning back. We are at that crossroads; it is the time for rising up of all people to protect our future.

Part 3 – Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians, speaks on the environmental protection work being done throughout the world, and here in New Brunswick, where our opposition is inspiring other provinces, states and countries.  She paints a grim picture of the state of our environment, but shares optimism inspired by the very large successes of dedicated people and groups, among them our First Nations communities. She encourages the financial support of legal injunctions to stop the government from proceeding with the exploitation of our natural gas. (see

Deborah, WEPAC

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