The New Brunswick Department of the Environment and Local Government has issued a provincial water strategy document “Working Together to Build a Water Strategy for New Brunswick.”
NBDELG also announced six workshops/open house “consultation”/information sessions on the strategy to be held around the province.
In keeping with the pervasive government strategy of removing impediments to the government’s industrial agenda, DELG has removed three of the most strongly represented watersheds in the province from the Level 1 Watershed list. The Nashwaak, the Meduxnekeag and the Canaan-Washademoak have all been folded into the Saint John Watershed in the newly proposed strategy. This is a thinly veiled attempt to dilute the objections of strongly affected watersheds to shale gas, mining and the Energy East pipeline.
This reconfiguration is part of the continued and systematic stripping of local communities of their ability to protect their water resources. Just as provincial governments have connived to deprive First Nations of their traditional rights, the rights of residents of Watersheds are being ignored, abused, eroded and removed in the interest of the corporate agenda.
This consultation exercise is a sham whose only purpose is to give the illusion of consultation when in reality the purpose is to facilitate the removal of the existing impediments to resource extraction industries. Over and over, governments of both stripes have arbitrarily removed regulatory constraints to their agenda while ignoring economic realities. Small wonder that we are where we are as a province.
Hopefully, the reaction to this abuse of our right to protect our water resources will evoke the same outcry that we have heard against shale gas and the Energy East pipeline. But sadly, the history of Water Classification has been littered with apathy and corporate influenced neglect. We are moving steadily backwards in our legislated protection of our water at a time when we should be doing the exact opposite.
Will we take this lying down?