Your government may be well intentioned with respect to opening the Shale Gas Pandora’s Box (recall: the beautiful Pandora was given a box which she was not to open under any circumstance. But she did, and all the evil contained therein escaped and spread over the earth.)
But before opening the Shale Gas Box you would do well to consider: (A) that there is ample evidence that the promised economic benefits may in fact not come our way, and (B) that despite the most stringent government regulations someone will pay the price when things go wrong, which they inevitably will. And that someone will not be the industry, nor the government, but New Brunswickers, and our environment, i.e. our children’s future.
In terms of New Brunswickers’ confidence in your government to handle this file responsibly, we need but look at the way it and associated industry players have so far dealt with our most abundant and renewable resource, the forest.
The forest covers 86% of the province, 47% Crown Land owned by the public but to all intents and purposes managed and exploited by the forest industry, and 22% Industrial Freehold owned by the forest industry itself.
That’s a huge chunk of the province.
For generations it has been the “lumber barons” who have played in this grand sandbox, becoming rich and powerful in the process. It is not irrelevant that today’s key player, Irving, has just been reported as being the third richest family in Canada, though supported by a province that is one of the nation’s poorest.
What is more, in this process the forest resource itself is being systematically and fundamentally impoverished.
Sure, there are still lots of trees out there, but they are increasingly being clear-cut and re-engineered as plantations, compromising the long-term ecological resilience and sustainability of the forest, despite what Irving’s roadside signs proclaim.
All the while governments, yours included, have stood aside and let the forest industry have its way.
Should we not get that sandbox in order, and to public benefit, before digging up another?