Alberta regulator restricts fracking near Brazeau dam following earthquake
CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator is moving to restrict oilfield fracking activity near the Brazeau Reservoir in east central Alberta as a precaution following a 4.3 magnitude earthquake south of the area in March. The AER says hydraulic fracturing operations targeting the Duvernay underground formation or deeper are prohibited within five kilometres of the Brazeau dam infrastructure. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking — where water, sand and chemicals are injected under high pressure to break up tight rock and free trapped oil and gas — is also banned for shallower operations within three kilometres.
© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Stephen MacGillivray New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs walks onto stage to deliver the State of the Province address in Fredericton on Thursday January 31, 2019. A decision by New Brunswick’s Conservative government to allow shale gas development in one region is drawing sharp criticism from Indigenous leaders who say they weren’t properly consulted.
New Brunswick’s PC government is under fire from the opposition Liberals for making a closed-door regulatory change allowing for the lifting of the fracking moratorium in the Sussex area.
Last month cabinet approved an order-in-council, clearing the way for the changes that were part of premier Blaine Higgs’ throne speech motion that passed through the legislature in december.
New Brunswick RCMP investigating suspected arson of garbage truck
Police say they believe the fire occurred sometime between 11 p.m. on June 8 and 9 a.m. on June 9. The truck was parked on a property on Welsh Road at the time of the fire. The police are now asking anyone with information on the fire or the identity of those responsible to contact them at 506-789-600 or call Crime Stoppers.
But Liberal critic Lisa Harris says the government has ignored the necessary consultation to lift the ban.
“They’re saying that they’re going to consult, they want to work with New Brunswickers, they want to work with all of the different parties. Well, obviously they don’t. They lifted this 30 days ago without any consultation,” she said.
“They say we’re going to do this, we’re going to move forward we’re going to do it our way. I mean it’s a little backwards … to lift moratorium and then say we need to consult.”
Harris said she spoke to several First Nations leaders Tuesday who said they had not been consulted by the PCs before the change was made.
Chiefs name Damien Williams unquestioned starting RB
Chiefs name Damien Williams unquestioned starting RB
A statement from the chiefs of Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Inc. (MTI) say they “were blindsided by the decision” which was made without “consent, consultation, or input” from Indigenous groups in the province.
The statement cites the 2016 final report from the New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing that set out nation-to-nation consultation as a prerequisite to lifting the moratorium.
“The Premier must remember the Crown has a duty to consult, and to seek our consent to development in our territory. The Mi’gmaq should’ve been engaged on this issue when the Government was just considering lifting the moratorium in the Sussex area,” said Chief George Ginnish of Natoaganeg First Nation in the release.
Corridor Resources had been extracting shale gas in the Sussex region since 1999. But in 2014 a moratorium was issued by the newly elected Brian Gallant Liberals, stopping the development of new wells.
Trans Mountain pipeline protesters rally ahead of final Ottawa decision
The final decision from federal government to come by June 18 but regardless opponents vow to stop project if it is approved.
New Brunswick’s minister of Energy Mike Holland says consultation will be done in due time and that the regulatory changes are only the first piece of a “framework” that will allow the development of the shale gas sector in the area.
“Any business, any government, if you’re involved with an initiative where there are moving parts and you have to figure out how to fit them into a framework you don’t run out every day and give updates on that,” he said.
Holland said that consultation with Indigenous groups is “of paramount importance” to any development, adding that any projects are about two years off.
“We’re not looking at development [until] probably 2021, so that’s why I’m saying let’s just let the temperature down here, because this is a long term project, nobody’s doing anything knee-jerk and we’re looking out beyond a year,” he said.
Along with the lack of Indigenous consultation, there are environmental concerns to consider as well.
“You don’t make the decision and then look for testimony that’s going to support it. You know, you have a discussion first,” said Jim Emberger, spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.
UNB prof accused of being a white supremacist takes early retirement
A University of New Brunswick professor accused of being a white supremacist is taking early retirement, the vice-president announced on Tuesday. Prof. Ricardo Duchesne provided his notice “to focus on his own pursuits as an independent scholar,” Dr. Petra Hauf said in a statement. “We respectfully accept his decision and thank him for his 24 years of service.” Last month, after an article in the Huffington Post called Duchesne a white supremacist, the university announced it was reviewing allegations with respect to a faculty member.
“When the Liberals brought the moratorium in, they didn’t do that until they had had months of public testimony from citizens, from industry, we brought in international experts on contamination of water and public health,” he said.
Sussex mayor Marc Thorne acknowledged the environmental concerns around shale gas extraction but says the region has a positive track record that speaks for itself.
“We are the area in the province that truly has experience, hands-on experience, with production of natural gas and we have yet to see any sort of negative impact in regards to that,” he said.
“We have yet to see any sort of negative impact in regards to that. We know of no water contamination or any other sorts of pollution or spills that people should be concerned about. We’re concerned about that too, we’re not in support of any sort of natural resource development that isn’t done responsibly.”
Trudeau accepts the finding of genocide, but says focus needs to be on response.
VANCOUVER — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he accepts the finding that Canada’s treatment of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls amounts to genocide. Debate has erupted over the definition of the term after the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls repeatedly used it in its final report released Monday. But Trudeau says people are wrapped up in a debate over the powerful term, when the focus should be on how to put an end to the issues raised by the inquiry. He says Canada has repeatedly failed Indigenous women and girls across the country.