The “Flat Earth Society” was founded tongue-in-cheek in New Brunswick by the renowned philosopher Dr. Leo Ferrari of St. Thomas University, and our beloved poet Alden Nowlan. It is reassuring to know that the spirit of this uniquely New Brunswick view of the world is alive and well in the body of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs as he attempts to convince the electorate that shale gas has economic potential for New Brunswick.
Higgs’ position on the shale gas issue would be laughable if it were not so dangerous. One has to ask from whom Higgs is getting his economic advice? Any notion of Higgs having economic smarts has been negated by his stance on shale gas and the Energy East Pipeline, despite industry spokesperson comments contrary to his wishful thinking.
Within Mr. Higgs’ “Frack Earth Policy” one must ask where and how does this dark denizen of the deep plan to treat and dispose of frack water? Will the Town of Sussex take this swill into their wastewater treatment system, and are they prepared for the financial and environmental burden of such treatment and disposal? Will Higgs demand adherence to Dr. Eilish Cleary’s now internationally-acclaimed framework for Health Impact Assessment of all proposed gas development? Will Corridor Resources be required to test all domestic wells in the exempted region for methane from deep-seated gas deposits prior to any new fracks?
UNB researchers1 have already found deeply sourced thermogenic methane in near surface water wells in the Elgin area after fracking by Apache Drilling. Are homeowners in the newly exempted region prepared for the financial loss coming with the pall of methane contamination of their water wells hanging over their properties?
And to what end? How much has Corridor actually contributed to the province and to job creation in the past? Where are these figures? Will we have transparency of the Environmental Impact Assessment process such that all flood plain considerations will be openly discussed? Will information on all accidental spills and their consequences, past and present, be available to the public without continued interference by the interminable “Right to Information” process.
We would all be better served if Higgs would invest the energy he is wasting on shale gas and Energy East, into defining a new economic direction for the province.
Lawrence Wuest is an ecologist and sculptor from Greenhill, a small community in the Upper Nashwaak watershed.
1 Al, T., J. Leblanc and S. Phillips. 2013. A Study of Groundwater Quality from Domestic Wells in the Sussex and Elgin Regions, New Brunswick: with Comparison to Deep Formation Water and Gas from the McCully Gas Field” Geological Survey of Canada Open File 7449.Natural Resources Canada.