In this edition of EcoNews, we air our concerns with the recent fire at the American Iron and Metal (AIM) facility in Saint John and highlight the work of Dr. Moe Qureshi, who presented a vision for a clean energy future in the New Brunswick legislature. Also, we invite you to celebrate our 54th annual general meeting and welcome two new members to the Conservation Council team. We’ll also explore the thought-provoking play Wood Buffalo, the differing environmental approaches in Canada and Ghana, the transformative power of community forestry and the benefits of electric school buses in New Brunswick. 

We’ve expanded our team!

From safeguarding our natural areas to combating climate change and striving to make energy more accessible and affordable, our mission is driven by a passion for a sustainable future. It takes exceptional talent to achieve these goals, and we’re proud to introduce you to the newest additions to our team.

First, we extend a warm welcome to our new executive director, Beverly (Bev) Gingras, who has taken over the helm of our organization. Bev will lead our mission to create awareness about environmental issues and advocate for positive change to protect our air, water and land. Additionally, we’re excited to introduce Kyle Reid, our new communications officer, who will play a crucial role in amplifying our message and connecting with our supporters. 

Conservation Council statement on fire at American Iron and Metal in Saint John

Dr. Kimberley Barker, the south region medical officer of health, told the CBC that the major fire at the American Iron and Metal (AIM) facility in the Port of Saint John in late September was “probably the equivalent of 10,000 car fires.”

This incident did not come as a shock to the Conservation Council, given the facility’s history of explosions, workplace injuries and even fatalities. The blaze not only raised safety concerns but also had severe and enduring environmental consequences that we don’t yet fully understand.

Click the link below to read our statement about why the fire is the latest in a list of reasons why the AIM facility should be immediately closed. The ongoing pattern of incidents and the reluctance of the owners to adopt safer practices make it clear that the operation is a problem.

Dr. Moe Qureshi in Ottawa

Dr. Qureshi also made his way to Ottawa in October to discuss the need for strong Clean Electricity Regulations with federal MPs. Dr. Qureshi’s main focus is ensuring a reliable and affordable transition, especially in Atlantic provinces. 

Want to help? Join our letter-writing campaign calling on the federal government to implement strong and effective Clean Electricity Regulations by clicking the link below.

Join us for our 54th annual general meeting

Come celebrate 54 years of environmental action with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick at our upcoming annual general meeting on Saturday, Nov. 25. Our team will reflect on our accomplishments and challenges of the past year, as well as unveil our plans for the year ahead.

The meeting will be a hybrid event, allowing members to participate either in person at St. Thomas University (51 Dineen Dr., Fredericton) or online via Zoom. Our staff presentations will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., followed by the business portion of the meeting from 1-4 p.m. Refreshments will be provided throughout the day. For those opting to join us online, we will send you a Zoom invitation.

While we welcome everyone to attend, only current members will have voting rights during the business portion. We invite our supporters, dedicated volunteers, and those interested in learning more about the Conservation Council to become members. To help us plan for the event, we ask that our members RSVP by Friday, Nov. 15, by email.

For any inquiries, additional information, or to check your membership status, please reach out to Stephanie Phillips at 506-458-8747 or by email. We look forward to celebrating our achievements and charting the path for a greener future with you!

Check out Wood Buffalo

Fredericton playwright Len Falkenstein’s new play Wood Buffalo dares to ask tough questions about humanity’s challenge reconciling progress with protecting the natural world that sustains us.

The play, set against the backdrop of the Wood Buffalo region in northern Alberta, explores the sacrifices made to maintain comfortable homes and humming economies amidst environmental challenges. We explored the themes behind Falkenstein’s play in our blog ahead of an artist talk with the playwright in October. Watch our artist talk with Falkenstein live on Facebook.

Contrasting environmental approaches

What would New Brunswick look like with minimal environmental regulation or awareness? Our communications intern, Asamaniwa Acquah, reflected on her experiences as an international student in New Brunswick and her home in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, drawing attention to the contrasting approaches to environmental protection in both regions. 

Asa explained that while Canada benefits from a robust network of non-profit organizations working alongside government bodies to raise environmental awareness and promote responsible actions, Ghana heavily relies on a single government organization, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), resulting in limited public engagement and awareness.

Community forestry is a game-changer

Community forestry is transforming traditional forest management practices in Canada. This forestry approach has local communities play the lead role in forest management and land use decisions, generating economic, social and environmental benefits. Amanda Page, our ecological forestry researcher, examines the benefits of community forestry and how it can reshape forest management in Canada in our latest blog post.

Interested in knowing more about community forestry? We’ve also updated our community forestry webpage and added a new factsheet that shows how community forestry can pave the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future for our forests and communities.

We work hard to ensure a strong environmental voice is heard in New Brunswick’s print, radio and television media. Here are the latest stories Conservation Council staff have been called upon for expertise, analysis and commentary:

CCNB in the News

Oct. 31|Matt Abbott, the Conservation Council’s director of marine conservation, tells CTV News how the removal of the Milltown dam will improve fish habitat in the St. Croix River. Watch the interview here. 

Oct. 25|Matt was interviewed by the St. Croix Courier about the Milltown dam removal project. Matt explained how the dam’s decommissioning has improved fish populations in the St. Croix River. Read the full story here.

Oct. 23|Matt tells the Narwhal how the recent detection of escaped farmed salmon at a fishway on the Magaguadavic River highlights the weaknesses in government oversight of the aquaculture industry. Read the full story here

Oct. 19|Dr. Moe Qureshi, our climate solutions manager, raised concerns about New Brunswick’s plans to use small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) and biomass as alternative energy sources. Read the full story here.

Oct. 18|Dr. Qureshi speaks with CBC’s Information Morning about New Brunswick and Nova Scotia’s energy-sharing plans. Listen to the interview here

Oct. 17|In this interview with CBC New Brunswick News, Dr. Qureshi explains how New Brunswick’s plans to shift away from coal to small modular reactors and biomass are misguided. Watch the interview here.

Sept. 30|In his presentation to the province’s standing committee on climate change and environmental stewardship, Dr. Qureshi explained how the province should be adding more renewable energy infrastructure instead of small modular reactors and biomass. Read the full story in the Telegraph-Journal.

Sept. 26|After the North Shore Mi’kmaq Tribal Council penned an equity deal with Moltex and ARC to develop small modular nuclear reactors, Dr. Qureshi questioned the financial viability of the two projects. Read the full story here.

Sept. 25|Dr. Qureshi told the Canadian Press how New Brunswick should be considering proven energy technologies like solar and wind over small modular reactors following the agreement of the deal with the North Shore Mi’kmaq Tribal Council. Read the full story here.

Sept. 23|Following the fire at American Iron and Metal in Saint John, Matt told CTV News how the task force investigating the fire should review safety measures at the scrapyard and whether the measures were appropriately enforced. Read the full story here. 

Sept. 21|In an interview with allNewBrunswick, Dr. Qureshi comments on findings from energy consulting firm Energy + Environmental Economics that pegged capital costs for small modular reactors in New Brunswick at $2.16 billion per 300 megawatt reactor. NB Power Told Small Nukes Are Pricier Than Renewables (Paywall)

Sept. 21|Dr. Qureshi tells Global News how small modular reactors are the most expensive option for New Brunswick as it pushes to hit carbon neutrality by 2035. Read the full story here.

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