• Economic fear mongering is alive and well

    The Daily Gleaner - Letters to the editor, 23 January 2013

     

     

    Re: Shale gas development

     

    Curiously, Minister of Health Ted Flemming, Dr. LaPierre, geologist Adrian Park and some letter-to–the-editor writers use identical language to claim that opponents of shale gas rely on inaccurate data from the film Gasland, and indulge in hysterical fear mongering.

     

    How dishonest, hypocritical and desperate! Unable to convince the public about the wonders of shale gas, they attempt to discredit the opposition.

     

    Gasland served as a wake-up call several years ago, but has been superseded by much history and science. I can’t remember any public forum in two years where it was cited as a reference.

     

    Shale opponents cite Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, international expert in rock fracturing, peer-reviewed scientific studies in prestigious journals, the US EPA, the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, government records of violations, and the industry’s own reports of failure.

     

    We cite the only long-term public health study by the University of Colorado, and The Endocrine Disruption Exchange on the toxicity of fracking chemicals. We point to the scholarly report done by New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Eilesh Cleary, which notes that we know almost nothing about shale’s public health threats.

     

    Recent peer-reviewed studies from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado are cited showing that shale worsens climate-change.

     

    Economists, financial analysts, science-based non-profit organizations, and the testimonies of people affected by shale gas from across North America are our sources. We’ve brought many expert speakers to the New Brunswick public.

     

    Where are the voices for the pro side? We hear only from gas-producing interests. Where are the independent studies proving that wells don’t leak, that water doesn’t get contaminated and air isn’t polluted, that there are no health problems, that methane isn’t leaking, that fracking chemicals aren’t toxic/carcinogenic, that roads aren’t destroyed, that quality of life doesn’t suffer, that shale gas’s boom and bust economic shell game doesn’t leave a place worse off? The silence is deafening.

     

    We offered to debate publicly, but government and industry were no-shows.

     

    The government merely repeats the totally false and unsupported idea that shale gas is our only economic hope. Talk about fear mongering propaganda.

    Jim Emberger
    Taymouth, N.B. 
  • (Posted on behalf of the Taymouth Community Association)

    A Response to the New Brunswick Government’s White Paper on Recommendations

    To Govern the Development of Shale Gas From The Taymouth Community Association

     

    (Page 11 of 11)

    Our Remaining Important Questions

     

    The government’s position has been that it is okay to continue exploration, because if we find shale gas development to be unsafe for either the people or the environment, we can simply stop it at that point. SWN had a three-year license to explore during which it pledged to spend $47 million dollars. The government recently passed a new regulation to grant them extensions of that license.
    "If a large portion of the medical profession in
    the province… says it is not safe to continue…
    can they be overridden by a political decision?"
    It is hard for us to conceive that after allowing the company to explore for 5 years and spend $47 million dollars that the government would say, ‘Sorry SWN, we don’t think it’s safe, you’ll have to go.’ Even if the government did say that, we suspect the action would be followed by costly lawsuits and extreme damage to the province’s reputation.
    The only sane approach is for a moratorium or ban to be started immediately before industry invests millions more. However, if the government wants to persist in what many consider a reckless policy, we want to know several things:

     

    - First, what will be the legal instrument used to deny leases to companies who have lawfully fulfilled their license agreements?

    - Secondly, who will decide on what is safe, what will be the decision-making process and who will provide the criteria to decide the standard of ‘safeness’?

    - Will the entire decision making process by open to public comment?

    - If a large portion of the medical profession in the province, backed by other medical societies around the world and supported by studies, says it is not safe to continue, given their commitment to the ethic of “first do no harm”, can they be overridden by a political decision?

    - What percentage of leaking gas wells or water well contaminations will our ‘safety standards’ allow as ‘acceptable’? How will that be decided?

    - If local communities have different conceptions of what is safe, what can they do?

    We need answers to these basic questions before we can give any serious consideration to the government’s current position.

     

     

     

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