New Brunswick needs an honest, two-way dialogue on shale natural gas

September 18, 2015. New Brunswick has a significant opportunity to join many other provinces in developing its substantial, clean-burning natural gas resource. Doing so could create thousands of new jobs, grow our economy, and lower energy prices, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

Unlocking natural gas’ potential typically requires hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process that has been used safely for decades in Canada. Despite this long track record and many and varied economic and environmental benefits, there has unfortunately been a lot of misinformation about the process recently, causing uncertainty among the general public and ultimately leading to the introduction of a moratorium on further development in New Brunswick.

Within the oil and gas industry we understand that it’s crucial that local people not only understand what we do, but also trust in how we are doing it. That’s why a coalition of the Province’s oil and gas exploration and supply chain companies, chambers of commerce and other associated businesses are all coming together to form the New Brunswick Responsible Energy Development Alliance.

By addressing inaccurate information about hydraulic fracturing and creating an honest two-way dialogue, our goal is to ensure that communities across the Province understand and trust how the industry operates.

Shale development could be an “economic force” for New Brunswick

The goal of this website is to provide more information about hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick, and provide a way for people to be able to ask questions and receive honest answers.

Most importantly, we want to make sure that people in our Province have access to the facts. It’s crucial for New Brunswickers to know for instance, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just released a five-year report that has been hailed as the most comprehensive study of hydraulic fracturing ever conducted, which found that shale development has “not led to widespread, systematic impacts to drinking water resources.”

And they should also be aware of a similar study released by the British Columbia Ministry of Health last March, which concluded that “the probability that adverse health impacts would occur in association with these exposures (to hydraulic fracturing) is considered to be low.”

Last year the Conference Board of Canada gave New Brunswick a D grade for economic health, ranking us amongst the worst performing provinces in the country. Lifting the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing won’t be a silver bullet that solves New Brunswick’s underlying economic problems.

But it can make a difference.

A report commissioned by the previous Government found that shale development could be an “economic force” for New Brunswick, creating 4,400 new jobs, adding $1.6 billion a year to the GDP and generating $310 million in new tax revenue each year. Even if only a fraction of these benefits come to pass, these are significant numbers, and ones that justify serious and sustained discussion before we casually dismiss them.

With the inauguration of the New Brunswick Responsible Energy Development Alliance, we look forward to meeting with people everywhere and to pursing ongoing dialogue about shale development and what it will actually mean for our Province.