Five Party Leaders on Shale Gas in New Brunswick

5 08 2014




Brunswick News has completed extensive one-on-one interviews with the province’s five party leaders in advance of the 38th New Brunswick general election to better inform you, our readers, before heading to the polls.“Where the leaders stand will pose one question a day – Monday to Saturday – throughout August, revealing the stance of all five political parties on a total of 25 critical issues.   Some are touting its development as a way to create jobs and fuel the province’s sputtering economy, while others say there are just too many unknowns and not enough scientific data to proceed.

A polarizing debate over the development of a shale gas industry in New Brunswick rages on.   Corridor Resources is spending $25 million this summer to further develop its shale gas reserves in New Brunswick and is close to moving on a $150-million project that would see the company drill a series of new wells in an effort to bring its operations to full commercialization.   Corridor drilled a first natural gas discovery well at the McCully Field, near Sussex, in 2000.   The Halifax-based company now has 30 wells extracting natural gas.   SWN Resources also has plans to drill exploratory wells next year.   But a strong public opposition to shale gas has rallied in efforts to halt development.   A protest near Rexton last year turned violent when police enforced a court-ordered injunction to dismantle the blockade of a compound used by SWN Resources to store equipment.   Officers arrested 40 people and six police vehicles were burned.   A group of New Brunswickers have also launched legal action against the provincial government in an effort to halt exploration in the province.   The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance filed the 18-page statement of claim with the Court of Queen’s Bench in Saint John earlier this year.
In the third instalment of a month-long series, Brunswick News asks the province’s five provincial leaders: What is your party’s stance on shale gas development?
“We’re saying ‘no’ to shale gas because we don’t believe it meets the two tests that an NDP government will ask of every single natural resource project, which is ‘can it be done safely for people and the environment’ and ‘can it make our province money?’” –New Democrat Leader Dominic Cardy
“Shale gas is unsustainable. There are three big issues with shale gas. It means great sacrifice zones in our rural communities. The risks to drinking water, to air quality, in particular are unacceptable; and of course we have a moral imperative to get off of fossil fuels.” – Green party Leader David Coon
“We were worried the government was going to rush into it, so as a result we initially called for a moratorium to put the brakes on, look at this and make sure if it’s done it’s done right. Since then, we have dropped the call for a moratorium and we said it’s something the people should decide on. The only way to really know what the people of the province want on this issue is to hold a referendum.” –People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin
“We’re the only party that supports the responsible development of shale gas in New Brunswick. We have taken the necessary time over the last four years to develop the strongest regulatory system in North America to ensure people can have confidence that it is being done safely and responsibly.” – Premier and Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward
“We support the responsible development of our natural resources, but that means we make decisions on information, data and research. For the last three years the Liberal party has been pushing for a moratorium on fracking and we have done it for one main reason – it’s because there is a lack of information.”–Liberal Leader Brian Gallant





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