• Alward government bungles first test of so-called world class shale gas regulations

    FREDERICTON--“Premier Alward’s world-class regulations on shale gas mining have failed their first major test,” says Dr. Jean Louis Deveau, chair of the Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

    On February 7th, Corridor Resources registered with the government’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) registry a proposal to propane frack four exisiting wells in Penobsquis sometime in July. This is Phase III of a three-phase project. Corridor’s short announcement was published in one small newspaper on February 11, but apparently nowhere else. The word fracking did not appear in the newspaper ad.

    Before 2010, shale gas companies were not required to register for an EIA until ready to drill and frack wells. “But public pressure forced the Alward government to change that, so they created a new category of EIA called a ‘phased EIA,’ which now requires companies to register each phase of a project for an EIA.”

    “The problem is this ‘phased EIA’ process is not designed to require a company to submit a formal environmental impact assessment which would trigger public hearings on their proposal,” says Deveau.

    Deveau points out that until February 21st, there was nothing in the government’s EIA registry to suggest that fracking would be taking place. Nor was Corridor's proposal initially available on-line. “We live in the information age,” says Stanley resident Lawrence Wuest, “but I had to physically drive to the Department of Environment to read about the details of Corridor's proposal.”

    In addition, according to a floodplain map of New Brunswick, two of the wellpads scheduled for fracking by Corridor lie on the 20 year floodplain of the Kennebecasis River. Corridor’s EIA registration document, now available on its own website does not appear to take this into consideration. This is problematic as the new rules for industry released in February 2013 place restrictions on shale gas mining in floodplains.

    Energy Minister Craig Leonard even said last September that shale gas mining in flood zone areas would have to go “through a full EIA." The phased EIA now underway will likely allow Corridor to frack without any of us ever knowing how the public and the waters of the Kennebecasis River are to be safeguarded in the event of flooding," said Deveau.

    “This is a far cry from what New Brunswickers should be expecting from so called ‘world-class’ shale gas regulations,” says Deveau. “I encourage New Brunswickers to demand that a comprehensive environmental impact assessment be conducted on this fracking project.”
  • The proposed Sisson Tungsten/Molybdenum/Copper mine near Stanley, New Brunswick, has the potential to create significant negative impact on and catastrophic risk for:

    •    Atlantic salmon habitat vulnerable to changes in the hydrologic regime and heavy metal deposition.
    •    The Nashwaak Watershed, a valuable economic and ecological resource, currently one of the post pristine watersheds in New Brunswick.
    •    Wetland habitats.
    •    Extensive areas of economically valuable hardwood and mixedwood Acadian Forest, a forest type under stress.
    •    Human health and safety in the Nashwaak Watershed, and in the open-pit itself, due to an unacceptable level of risk of failure of the extensive and high tailing dams.
    •    Human and ecological health due to air emissions of dust with elevated levels of arsenic and lead in an extensive area of the projected dust plume of this mine.

    Action 1:

    Join CCNB, Mining Watch Canada and the Sierra Club of Canada - Atlantic Chapter in requesting a review panel for the Sisson Tungsten/Molybdenum/Copper Open-Pit Mine. A petition asking for a review panel has also been drafted in case you want to circulate to your contacts.

    You can send a letter requesting a review panel -- the highest level of Environmental Assessment -- to:

    Hon. Peter Kent
    Minister of Environment

    Tara Oak, Project Manager, Sisson Project
    Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

    Hon. Margaret-Ann Blaney
    NB Minister of Environment

    Hon. Keith Ashfield
    Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

    cc - Mike Allen
    MP for Tobique-Mactaquac

    * If you would like to have your comments posted on this page, please cc your letters to us at forest@ccnbaction.ca You can find submissions in the bottom section of this page.

    Action 2:

    Concerns with the Draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Sisson Project Environmental Impact Statement are being accepted until October 3, 2011.

    Please find 16 points of concern with the Draft Terms of Reference below. For those interested in finding out more about each concern and commenting, each concern is discussed in further detail here.

    Comments can be sent to:

    Hon. Peter Kent
    Minister of Environment

    Cc: Hon. Margaret-Ann Blaney
    NB Minister of Environment

    Hon. Keith Ashfield
    Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

    Tara Oak, Project Manager, Sisson Project
    Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

    16 points of concern:

    1.       Totally unacceptable level of project definition and scope at this stage of the EA/EIA, leaving the public and government at a severe disadvantage in commenting on the TOR.

    2.       Inaccurate and incomplete articulation of proponent responsibilities with regard to cost/benefit analysis of all VECs.

    3.       Unconstitutional articulation of proponent responsibilities to First Nations as defined in existing Treaties and the U.N. Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

    4.       Inadequate acceptance of proponent responsibility to address the issues related to water quality under the Province of New Brunswick’s Water Classification Regulations.

    5.       Inadequate requirements for proponent bonding to mitigate impacts of unexpected catastrophic events for which known risk factors are calculable based on historical performance of similar projects.

    6.       Unacceptable requirements for proponent engagement and scrutiny in public consultation

    7.       Inadequate acceptance of proponent responsibility to consider alternative ways of completing the project.

    8.       Inadequate acceptance of proponent responsibility to consider the “do nothing” alternative to the project.

    9.       Inadequate guidance on determining the project footprint at the Local Assessment Area (LAA) level.

    10.   Inadequate guidance for a proper and effective HHERA(Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment).

    11.   Inadequate requirement for peer review of scientific aspects of the TOR.

    12.   Inadequate guidance on considering the historical record of mining in Canada, including its record of social irresponsibility, and its impacts on the integrity of rural communities.

    13.   Unacceptable level of guidance on considering impacts of the environment on the project.

    14.   Unacceptable level of guidance on considering reasonably predictable future combined impacts, either those of the current proponent or in combination with other projects.

    15.  Unacceptable specification of the possible tailing facility.

    16.   Unacceptable assumptions at this point in the process.
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results for Rexton NB and area May 14 2014

    Two hundred and more enthusiastic and engaged people from the Rexton and Kent County areas attended a standing room-only Voice of the People Tour stop at the Bonar Law High School Wednesday evening.

    Aboriginal, Acadian, English and other friends and neighbours spoke their minds on the issue of fracking and how they choose to take a stand in rejecting the shale gas industry while pursuing viable and locally-based solutions and alternatives to our 'Dig it Up, Cut it Down, Ship it Out'economy.

    Below are the results of the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR Red Dot Poll for Rexton NB

    1. People of NB will not stand by and allow this (fracking) to happen (112 dots)

    2. Boycott Irving (83 dots)

    3. More emphasis on food security for Kent County (64 dots)

    4. On election day make a statement by voting for a party opposed to fracking (59 dots)

    5. SLAPP suits by SWN (South Western Energy) are unacceptable and will be challenged by individuals and by class action (53 dots)

    6. Honour Aboriginal land and rights (51 dots)

    7. Exploration test wells need to be opposed/stopped. "We have to stop before they drill" (36 dots)

    8. We need to get behind local & provincial politicians who have opposed shale gas (33 dots)

    9. Tools and incentives (e.g. community economic development investment funds) need to be made more available to assist communities to develop renewable energy programs (29 dots)

    10. Greater transparency from government regarding costs incurred from shale gas industry (impacts to air quality, water quality, public health, road maintenance, etc.) (18 dots)

    11. Organized tours of Penobsquis are available. It is important that we see and smell what the industry creates (17 dots)

    12. Speak out not only for yourself but for your wider community (11 dots)

    13. Phased environmental impact assessments (EIA) will be ineffective tools of a regulatory process (9 dots)

    14. Make personal submissions or complaints if medical conditions are potentially at risk by operations that may be planned to happen near or around your community (4 dots)

    15. Challenge the establishment and their use of words to obscure the truth & take away our rights (2 dots)
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