I woke up this morning, flicked on the radio, and listened, in amazement, to CBC’s Jacques Poitras’ story about how New Brunswick Premier the Honourable David Award says New Brunswick’s environmental regulations are “tough enough.”
I appreciate the fact that it’s been hectic on the campaign trail over the past few weeks — but, really, I believe that grand statements like this, even during campaigns, should have some bearing in fact.
The truth is, NB is not on the leading edge of environmental regulation. Our air quality standards are weaker than Newfoundland’s and in some instances, Texas. We protect our municipal drinking water sources, but the majority of the province is without basic watershed protection. And don’t get me started on how we’ve yet to offer protection to our rivers and streams.
The regulations being touted the most are those associated with fracking — they are not even real laws — they are guidelines for conditions that may or may not be placed on the Environmental Impact Assessment.
But thank you, morning news, for reminding me to check back in the pile of reports on my desk — reports from scientists, health experts, and organizers — all of whom have something to say about the state of our laws. Enjoy!
“I do not think the health pieces are being adequately addressed, even within the current rules for the industry, and the processes do not enable us to look at the impacts either in the short term, medium term or long term.”
-Dr. Eilish Cleary, NB Chief Medical Officer of Health, CBC NB May 06, 2014
“Hydraulic fracturing should not proceed unless there is an environmentally responsible option for disposal of waste water”
-Drs. Rick Cunjak, Tom Al, Karl Butler and Kerry MacQuarrie, University of New Brunswick, Potential Impact of Shale Gas Exploitation on Water Resources, April 2012
“Consideration of different potential regional impacts need to be closely considered when determining the suitability for shale gas development”
“Data about environmental impacts are neither sufficient nor conclusive”
“Most experts agree that impacts on water raise the greatest environmental concern from shale gas development.”
-Council of Canadian Academies Report of 16 Canadian and American Scientists, Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction in Canada, May 2014
“Our country will have drilled and fracked our way down a blind alley (with huge associated economic and environmental costs) for a short-lived energy boom”
-David Hughes, former Scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada, Author of Drill Baby Drill: Can Unconventional Fuels Usher in a New Era of Energy Abundance? February 2013
“Just because we can carry out this activity does not mean we should… Unconventional gas fracking has the potential to have catastrophic effects on our environment and economy.”
-Jerry Dias, UNIFOR President – Canada’s largest energy union, November 2013
“What I’ve learned from the New Brunswick model and from the history here is that I have a responsibility to show people we are listening to them. … I’m concerned about how this issue is tearing certain communities apart.”
-Andrew Younger, Minister of Energy, Government of Nova Scotia, CBC NS August 26, 2014
“A significant period of learning and dialogue is now required at both provincial and community levels, and thus hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of unconventional gas and oil development should not proceed at the present time in Nova Scotia.”
-David Wheeler, Chair Nova Scotia Independent Review Panel on Hydraulic Fracturing, August 2014
“Let us not let our futures be fracked and find ourselves once again looking for the next supposed panacea. Let’s have the foresight to build renewable industries and stable, rather than precarious, jobs”
-Dr. Susan Machum, Canada research chair in Rural Sociology, St. Thomas University, CBC Commentary September 17, 2014