The docs are against hydraulic fracturing

I just read the CBC article about New Brunswick’s docs coming out calling for a moratorium on shale gas development.   They are definitely at the vanguard on this.  When BC just announced its new energy strategy which has hydraulic fracturing as its centre piece – not a peep from the BC docs.

For those of us who wonder why this approach to drilling is going ahead just about everywhere in the world where there has been interest – the UK just announced it would allow the process in Britain.   New York is forging ahead despite enormous – unprecedented outrage.

As is the case with most NBers (including the docs), I don’t know enough about the science to say one way or the other but I continue to find it curious that of the dozens of locations where shale gas is being developed – NB is among the top two or three where resistance is the greatest.   I guess the opponents have done a great job – the BC natural gas strategy was hardly mentioned here – I didn’t see much coverage at all.

I have said it before and I will say it again.  If the masses do not want shale gas, it will be shut down.  We live in a democracy.  The Liberals are continuing to call for a moratorium as are the NDP.  It is political red meat.

No one has made even the slightest attempt to explain to me why this is okay just about everywhere but here.  The one place that really needs the economic activity.  You think BC needs another multibillion dollar economic injection?

I guess we know something the rest don’t.

I will say that doctors – of all public servants – should have an appreciation of the important link between the economy and our ability to pay for public services.

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6 Responses to The docs are against hydraulic fracturing

  1. Again, I need to be educated on what we know that others don’t – including that right wing nut President Obama:

    From President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address:

    We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. (Applause.) And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. (Applause.) Because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

    The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy. (Applause.) And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock –- reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground. (Applause.)

  2. Rupert Penjab says:

    Shale gas, or the sale of shale gas, is being held up by some as a solution to the province’s economic woes. At best, this finite resource, is little more than a stop-gap solution to the problem this province seems to have of balancing their books.
    Personally, I do not care, one way, or the other, if they choose to give our resources away, but I am left wondering what will be offered for sale next?

  3. mikel says:

    I assume thats a joke, that we live in a democracy. Name one decision ever made in New Brunswick which ‘the masses’ supported. As you said, in New York they are facing ‘enormous opposition’. There is also opposition in BC, heck, there was a guy there BLOWING UP pipelines. So so far, there is really no difference. Alward is the political leader, and he is saying the exact same thing as every other politician. And go type ‘doctors protesting fracking’ and you see many doctors in the US making similar demands, or at least of studying it-particularly in New York.

    New Brunswick is a small place, so things tend to get overinflated. Particularly with a media that doesn’t like to talk about many issues. Over at CHarles blog I pointed out that the supreme court of Canada has protected panhandling as freedom of speech, yet the province of new brunswick and every city continues to break the charter. But those are ‘just poor people. Again, the province still breaks federal health laws by refusing to pay for abortions. Any coverage? Cue chirping crickets. That’s just dumb women who should know better.

    The provincial portion of double occupancy and apartment dwellings is going to cost the provincial government close to 70 million dollars per year, at a time when the province is bleeding red ink-the only mention so far was a story on CBC celebrating that tenants will enjoy a three year rate freeze.

    My point is that once ‘talk’ reaches a certain point, then media likes to cover it. For one thing, we have NO idea whether the ‘masses’ support it or not. It also serves a political purpose, it keeps people distracted. The government LOVES it, or should. They just passed legislation that will raise property taxes for rural people. Yes, raised taxes. On a specific group of people. Where is the outcry? Oh, they’re too busy talking about the possibility that maybe somewhere nearby something may happen to their water.

    So what you are REALLY seeing, is not a difference in behaviour, but a difference in media. You don’t hear about protests in pennsylvania, and again, fracking is ‘going ahead’ in NB just like everywhere else.

  4. Will says:

    You might want to do a statistical analysis on if and why highly educated people are more against hydraulic fracturing than the average person. I’m for responsible regulated development of resources but there are those who are deeply anti-corporate and govt and have dreams of a utopian society where there is no oil and gas. Sadly they don’t have an immediate solution that is viable to power vehicles (ie not wind or solar). And funnily enough many are even against wind turbines!

  5. Chris Smissaert says:

    So Dave: Just wondering if you have any of the devilish details regarding the economics of shale gas and our agreements with the multi-national development corperations. Like what is the nature of the current gas price and the projected oversupply over the next ten yrs say. Is our expected royalty rate based on the current market price? We we have to give it away to get into US markets in the Northeast? Further, a question about the company siesmic testing in Sussex that got into trouble last year for testing inside the village limit without permission. We were told that they would be fined or something for breaking the law, but then we hear last week or so, that their contract was extended another five years with the reasoning that the Gov’t had to or they would be sued? And now I hear Enbridge in suing for some astronomical sum? My question is economic…What kind of contracts are we getting ourselves into anyway, do you know?

  6. Some of these questions I have attempted to deal with in previous posts but I am not an expert on natural gas. First, I looked at our royalty rate regime for nat gas a few years ago – before the current crisis – and they were in line with other Canadian provinces – I believe a little more lucrative (for the firms) but remember in the US there are no royalties to government at all (unless on public land) as the landowners own the rights. The point is that a successful oil and gas E&P sector will generate substantial tax revenues for local and provincial governments.

    Some people have been scornful of ‘multi-national corporations’ – do you want mom ‘n pop firms to be drilling for shale gas? I don’t know about you but I prefer big firms with a good track record and deep pockets If Moncton’s Major Drilling got into shale gas, I might change my mind on this. As for Windsor and Sussex, that was illegal.

    As for the price, very few are suggesting that NB’s natural gas will be commercially viable in the short term. The debate now is whether or not we should cancel the R&D agreements we have in place with existing firms. The current activity is just testing to see if there is gas and if it can be extracted. While not an expert, I doubt there will be any commercial production in New Brunswick until the price rebounds. I have said we should be looking at developing local markets for gas – if we have gas, why not look for more opportunities to use it here?

    Although, within 10 years, it may be a moot point as I am told there are times up to 80% of Sable gas never crosses the U.S. border because it is used in NB and NS (and a little in PEI). When that supply runs out we will have LNG or local supply.

    Enbridge? The whole thing is sad and there are no winners. I had hoped they would come to an agreement.

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