NBASGA Press Conference on Fracking Suit

24 06 2014
Rather than repeat what was said at the press conference, I am inserting the comments made by Roy Ries, president of NBASGA.

“Good morning everyone, and welcome to a historic day for the people of New Brunswick.

Earlier this morning, NBASGA formally filed a Statement of Claim against the Province of New Brunswick in Court of Queens’ Bench.

We are asking the courts to place a moratorium on the development of unconventional shale gas and oil in our province until such time as long-term, population-based scientific studies demonstrate that it can be done safely.

The three plaintiffs acting for NBASGA in this action are Roy Ries, Jim Emberger, and Carol Ring.  

NBASGA did not take the decision to launch court action lightly, but we were given no choice.

For more than three years, we have been desperately trying to get the provincial government to listen to the independent scientists and doctors sounding the alarm about this industry.

And we have documented the massive opposition to such development by the people affected.

Nothing has worked.

Four years ago the Alward government’s decision to develop shale gas was announced as a fait accompli.

Since then, it has ignored and dismissed out of hand the growing mountain of scientific evidence about the threat posed by the industry.

In short, our choice was between turning a blind eye to life-threatening activities authorized by the provincial government or doing our utmost to protect the lives of people here today and our children and grandchildren tomorrow.

Well, that’s no choice at all, and, after four years of trying every peaceful means possible to communicate the dangers of this industry to the government, we find ourselves here today.

There is simply no way to develop shale gas in New Brunswick using current technologies without needlessly jeopardizing people’s lives.

NBASGA will provide the Court with the independent, peer-reviewed scientific studies and research documenting the potentially catastrophic threat to human life and the environment posed by developing unconventional shale gas and oil deposits.

We will document the damage to health and the many illnesses associated with the industry, including cancer in adults and congenital heart defects and low birth weights for babies born near shale gas wells.

We will also document the life-threatening contamination of air, water, and land associated with the development of shale gas using current technologies. 

Our water, air and land are the sources of life on the planet. We will document that the unconventional oil and gas industry is also a threat to the very planet itself through its acceleration of climate change.

The notion that we should sacrifice the very water, air and land needed to sustain life itself in order to create a few short-term, unsustainable jobs is madness. 

NBASGA cannot stand idly by while the very font of life that sustains us all is threatened with destruction.

We have been referring to our legal action as ‘The Science Suit,’ and that is a very succinct summary of NBASGA’s approach: we will be asking the court to make its decision on the basis of science.

To date, the scientific studies that have been done show that the activities, processes and technologies used by the shale gas industry are so dangerous that they violate the constitutional right of all New Brunswickers – indeed all Canadians – to security of the person guaranteed by Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I note that the security of the person protected by Section 7 of the Charter includes the right of all Canadians to health and to clean drinking water.

It is our position that the Government of New Brunswick cannot legally take decisions that needlessly threaten the life and health of its citizens by allowing the water they depend on to drink or the air they depend on to breathe to be so polluted as to be incapable of sustaining life.

A new day is dawning in New Brunswick.

A new day where the protection of our families, our neighbors and our communities is more important than private, partisan agendas.

We all share a moral obligation to do our utmost to ensure that generations not-yet-born will also have clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink.

The air, water and land that sustain all life are a common heritage that every generation holds in trust for future generations.

The heritage of life that our air, land and water represent for all generations is not ours to despoil and ruin.

We welcome your questions. Ms. Melanson and Mr. Emberger will respond to questions regarding the scientific evidence – in either French or English. And any questions you have regarding legal aspects will be answered by Mr. Kowalchuk [NBASGA legal representation}.”

Roy Ries

NBASGA, President

NBASGA realizes that this will be a long struggle.  You can be part of that struggle by supporting the NB Water First Legal Fund that has made this action possible.  You can make a PayPal donation, no matter how small or large, by going to www.knowshalegasnb.ca or by mailing your donations to NB Water First Inc., PO Box 4526, Rothesay NB E2E 1A0.  Together we can be heard.

 

For further information concerning the work being done by the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, we invite you to our website atwww.NoShaleGasNB.ca

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