My column yesterday was on shale gas and my view that we need to treat that industry as a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity that could end up creating thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in tax and royalty revenue to pay for our public services and renew our rural economy.
Predictably, I got several emails complaining about my view and there were also a few comments on the site – all negative.
I cited the Pennsylvania Environmental Council which is calling for stringent new measures on shale gas drilling in that state but I was particularly interested in the CEO’s comment that shale gas “is a once-in-a-generation energy and economic opportunity for Pennsylvania [and] we have a deep historical, political and fiduciary responsibility to get this right for the citizens.”
I wondered out loud if New Brunswick’s environmentalists (and, it seems, all our geologists and energy experts) feel the same way about shale gas in New Brunswick. If they do, I haven’t seen or heard any commentary in that direction.
20% of all the nat gas in the U.S. now comes from hydrofracking. Have there been problems in certain areas? Yes. But it seems to me there are best practices out there and we need to employ them here but we shouldn’t try and force out investment just because.
It just seems to me that many of us have disconnected the absolute requirement for an sustainable economic foundation under our social and community objectives. I wonder if we were personally in serious economic hardship we wouldn’t be so cavalier about some of this stuff. Well, as a society, we are facing serious economic hardship – and not just because of the deficit.
This has never been about enriching fat cat investors or millionaires. They will invest their money wherever they think they can get a good return – here or elsewhere. This is about the people in our communities. It’s about meaningful and good paying work. It’s about trying to ensure that some of that global capital that is roaming the globle looking for investment opportunities is used here to sustain our economy and our communities.
Some of us will just have to disagree on this point but I hope we can disagree agreeably.