Letters to the Editor

Friday, 8 June 2012

Statements and Stats from natural resource FORUMe 2012

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, UNB and U de M jointly hosted a conference on the natural resource economy in New Brunswick. The resource specifically focused on was shale gas and it's potential benefits for the provincial economy.

The forum sought to create a dialogue of information exchange in order to find ways to strike a balance between the environmental and economic needs of the province.

A broad array of speakers were heard from, including government ministers, policy analysts, economists, industry leaders, and conservationists.

Below are excerpts from some of the statements made by the speakers in attendance, and statistics presented at the forum.

- 38% of New Brunswickers polled get their information about oil and gas exploration from online websites. - MQO research poll data collected in May

Premier David Alward gave keynote speech at forum
- "[Recommendations] were unveiled May 17, with a resource management plan so comprehensive that the federal environment department is using it in it's nation-wide study on natural gas." - Premier David Alward in keynote speech 

- "The last well to be hydraulically fractured in New Brunswick was done in November 2010 and there may be no fracking done this year at all. And even if there were, we have the regulations in place to adequately and safely cover the minimal amount of activity we currently have going on in our province." - Premier David Alward in keynote speech

 - "If anyone thinks that I would support any development in our province that would cause harm to our environment, then they don't know me very well." (Applause) - Premier David Alward in keynote speech

- "You know, it's important that people have more than a Hollywood-style documentary which to base their decisions on for a potential natural gas industry." - Premier David Alward in keynote speech

- 49% of New Brunswickers polled agree the government can have enforceable, effective regulations to responsibly manage oil and gas exploration and development. - MQO research poll data collected in May
Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute 


- "64% of Canadians polled, even in Alberta, think the environment is the most important part of a national energy strategy...Canada...has no national energy strategy." - Simon Dyer, Pembina Institute of Alberta

Robert Sauve, DNR Quebec
- "...88 trillion cubic feet of potential shale gas resource in New Brunswick [compared to] 32 trillion found in Arkansas." - Robert Sauve, Natural Resources and Wildlife, Quebec

- 43% of New Brunswickers polled agree the oil and gas industry can operate in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner. - MQO research poll data collected in May

Stephanie Merrill, CCNB
- "There has been an assumption that people can be persuaded, enticed or taught. There has been no respect for the fact that...many people...do not, and will not accept this industry, both because of the science but also because it doesn't align with their values - their view of the future of their home." - Stephanie Merrill, Fresh Water Protection Coordinator, Conservation Council of New Brunswick

- "I asked what the people who own waterfront property...value about where they live...water is on the top of the list. The water where they go swimming, paddle their canoe, fish with their grandsons, and gaze at while drinking a beer and BBQing a steak...These are the things that make people tick; it is the glue that binds our sense of place. - Stephanie Merrill, Fresh Water Protection Coordinator, Conservation Council of New Brunswick

- 52% of New Brunswickers polled agree the oil and gas industry is an important part of New Brunswick's economy. - MQO research poll date collected in May

John Herron, Atlantica Center for Energy, NB
- "The coming demographic tsunami keeps me awake at night...we need money to maintain social programs...to pay for what we have."  - John Herron, Atlantica Center for Energy, NB

- "In Saskatchewan, 23% of their economy comes from resources. In New Brunswick, 23% comes from equalization payments." - John Herron, Atlantica Center for Energy, NB

- "We need to find ways forward to bring people together using social networking for common ground...there is no public trust in government and industry...People need to see professionals enforcing regulations [instead of] calling 911 when we see a seismic truck." - John Herron, Atlantica Center for Energy, NB

-  29% of New Brunswickers polled say their top concern regarding the exploration and development of oil and gas in the province is the environment. - MQO research poll data collected in May

Tom Murphy, Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research
- "We tracked the increase in fracking locations in the state...it's a fast-paced increase." - Tom Murphy, Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, Pennsylvania

- "The population influx for the industry has led to an increase in DUI's and related issues." - Tom Murphy, Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, Pennsylavania

- "The banking industry is saying in the Marcellus area people are still buying houses as the fracking industry is going on." - Tom Murphy, Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, Pennsylvania

- "There are 150 vocations for the life cycle of a well...every 6 months, a technology evolves to help regulation of the industry." - Tom Murphy, Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, Pennsylvania

- "fracfocus.org is a website where industry is compelled to report [frack fluid] chemicals." - Tom Murphy, Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, Pennsylvania 

- 26% of New Brunswickers polled strongly oppose exploring for gas in shale rock in the province. - MQO research poll data collected in May

 - "Before a permit is obtained [by shale gas companies] there has to be disclosure of chemicals."- New Brunswick Environment Minister Bruce Fitch

Annie Daigle, Natural Gas Group
- "Full disclosure means full disclosure of all the ingredients to the public. So the public will know what is in the frack fluids and what's in the additives, but what they would not know is the recipe, so how much of which, and that's the key to allowing full disclosure while still protecting trade secrets." - Annie Daigle, Natural Gas Group, province of New Brunswick

Dr. Tom Al, Earth Sciences, UNB
- "[Used water] shouldn't go into municipal water treatment plants...the urban areas are not equipped." - Dr. Tom Al, Earth Sciences Department, UNB

Environment Minister Bruce Fitch
- "We came out with a white paper because we wanted to share it with the Conservation Council, industry and academia..." (recommendations + discussion + compression of information = regulations with a balanced approach). - New Brunswick Environment Minister Bruce Fitch

- "Why should I trust industry to keep my patients safe? Will a regulator be available to answer physician questions?" - Emergency room physician Dr. Angela LesGresley

- 35% of New Brunswickers polled strongly oppose using fracking in the province. - MQO research poll data collected in May

Mark Boling, Executive V-P, SWN Resources Canada
- "Industry continues to beat the drum of 'we've done this for 60 years without any problems so don't regulate us out of business...Unfortunately, we have failed to answer the question which we should have stepped up and answered from the beginning...That is: Well, if it's not hydraulic fracturing that's causing methane to migrate into those wells in northeast Pennsylvania and other areas, then what is it?" - Mark Boling Secretary, Executive Vice-President and General Counsel, SWN Resources Canada

- "There's an understandable fear of the unknown that is unfortunately and consistently fed by misinformation about hydraulic fracturing...an unprecedented misinformation campaign." - Mark Boling, Secretary, Executive Vice-President and General Counsel, SWN Resources Canada

- "I believe that if a moratoria or any kind of slowdown of the development of this resource is done for the reasons to assess the actual risk associated with development, then fine...But if it is done for political reasons, political gains, and it is based on perceived risk that is not based on good science, then I say that is not the right reason." - Mark Boling, Secretary, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, SWN Resources Canada. 

- 56% of New Brunswickers polled overall oppose fracking in the province. - MQO research poll data collected in May

Mark Hambrook, Miramichi Salmon Association
- "We have no opposition to the shale gas industry, but we expect government to bring in regulations to protect the salmon industry." Mark Hambrook, Miramichi Salmon Association, NB

-  "Problems with safety is a reason Liberals have taken the position of a moratorium on shale gas." - Victor Boudreau, Official Opposition Leader

Opposition leader, Victor Boudreau
- "People and groups around New Brunswick have expressed a need for a moratorium...groups are against it [shale gas] because there are too many unknowns to risk the health of New Brunswickers." - Victor Boudreau, Official Opposition Leader

- 37% of New Brunswickers polled say the development of the shale gas industry will have a positive impact on the province. - MQO research poll data collected in May

*MQO used a sample size of 605 in a mixed-mode survey based on probability with a margin of error +/- 4.0% collected between May 15 and May 20, 2012*


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