New Brunswick

Sat, 2014-10-11 09:01Justin Mikulka
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Air Quality Concerns Raised By Albany Residents Living Along Oil-By-Rail Tracks

Ezra Prentice apartments

Residents of the Ezra Prentice apartments in Albany, N.Y., have been complaining about air quality issues ever since the oil trains showed up in the Port of Albany two years ago.

And recent testing by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has confirmed their fears. In 20 out of 21 air samples taken by the department, benzene levels exceeded the long-term benzene exposure standard. Benzene is a known human carcinogen.            

What happened next is puzzling. The department reached a shocking conclusion, relayed to the residents of Ezra Prentice by research scientist Randi Walker at an August meeting: “The bottom line is that we didn't find anything that would be considered a health concern with these concentrations that we measured.”

The finding was so bizarre that David O. Carpenter, the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany, wrote a report about it. In that report, Carpenter calls the Department of Environmental Conservation’s conclusion “irresponsible.”

Mon, 2011-08-08 15:24TJ Scolnick
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Digging Deeper Into New Brunswick’s Fracking Controversy

In ever greater numbers, New Brunswickers are speaking out against hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and the exploitation of the densely packed unconventional gas sitting below ground. Until now, opposition to drilling has been disparate with some 30 civic groups, many communities and individuals speaking out, but on their own. Now, it seems that the opposition is unifying under a common voice in order to send a firm message that “No Means NO” [pdf] when it comes to fracking in the province.

The August 1st Fracking Day march and protest in Fredericton, co-organized by 16 environmental and community groups, was a huge success drawing a crowd of around 1,500 people as well as representatives from the opposition political parties, all on a provincial holiday. The many groups opposing fracking and unconventional gas are hoping for another breakthrough as they have been invited to the community of Taymouth by the Taymouth Community Association for the second formal meeting to form a common voice and to build short and long term province-wide strategy to stop drilling.

Mon, 2011-08-01 12:16TJ Scolnick
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In Gas Driller’s Canadian East Coast Heartland, A Day Of FRACtion

On August 1st and 2nd, a Day of FRACtion involving marches and protests is taking place across most of Canada’s Atlantic provinces in order to bring attention to unconventional gas extraction and its highly contentious hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drilling method.

The Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, in partnership with a number of other organizations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island opposed to gas production, is calling on all Atlantic Canadians to send their leaders the message that “We do not want fracking in Atlantic Canada” (or anywhere).

Sun, 2011-06-05 13:54TJ Scolnick
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Arkansas Families Launch Lawsuits Against Southwestern For Polluting Their Water; New Brunswick Is Open For Drilling

Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. is facing more lawsuits because of destructive hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) practices.

Southwestern is already accused of contaminating a dozen Pennsylvanian families’ drinking water, and now Arkansas families are also claiming that Southwestern’s fracking for unconventional gas is poisoning their freshwater. What’s more, Tim Holton, lead lawyer for the case believes that hundreds of people may join this latest suit, which seeks millions of dollars in damages, and is asking the courts to require independent monitoring of water supplies and public health in areas near to fracking activities.

Thu, 2011-06-02 14:20TJ Scolnick
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Apache Corp Pulls Out Of New Brunswick Gas Fracking Project

Halifax’s Corridor Resources Ltd. has announced that Apache Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Houston’s Apache Corporation, is giving up on unconventional gas exploration southwest of Moncton, in New Brunswick. This is a major setback for the drillers using hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) on Canada’s east coast, since the $25 million Apache has already invested in dangerous unconventional gas drilling was expected to be supplemented by an extra $100 million.

Last year, Corridor, a smaller player in the gas industry, partnered with Apache in order to test the profitability of two horizontal trial wells into the Frederick Brook shale deposit located in the Elgin region of the province. While Corridor considers Elgin and the surrounding area to contain North America’s largest gas concentrations per square kilometer [pdf], the Will DeMille G-59 and Green Road B-41 test wells were not proving commercially viable.

When their partnership was announced, the companies were hoping to drill up to 480 wells, but with meager results from the two wells in phase 1, and a June 1st deadline to decide whether to invest additional millions or to opt out entirely, Apache balked and walked away from phase 2.

Thu, 2011-04-21 16:43TJ Scolnick
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New Brunswick Energy Commission Recommends Expanding Unconventional Gas Development Despite Fracking Threat To Climate

The New Brunswick Energy Commission released its Public Feedback Document on the province’s 10-year energy policy plan earlier this week. Despite recent public outcry and growing scientific concern about threats to drinking water, health and the global climate posed by fracked unconventional gas, the Energy Commission recommends continuing to develop heavily polluting dirty gas, contradicting both renewable energy and carbon emission reduction goals.

The province’s Premier asked the Energy Commission’s co-Chairs William Thompson and Jeannot Volpé to engage with the public on the province’s energy future beginning in October 2010. Today’s document was developed from more than 1,400 completed surveys submitted online, over 200 public dialogue attendee surveys, more than 60 stakeholder group meetings and some 75 public presentations.

The health risks and environmental degradation (like pollution and overuse of freshwater) that comes with unconventional shale gas extracted through hydraulic fracturing (fracking) are increasingly well known. The Commissioners, regrettably, are still fully supportive of rapidly expanding this dirty gas drilling boom as an economic asset and development tool, stating:

Thu, 2011-04-14 14:52TJ Scolnick
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New Brunswick Is Canada's Next Shale Gas Fracking Battle Front

On Canada’s east coast, American oil and gas companies are doubling down and betting that the small maritime province of New Brunswick is the next shale gas hot spot.

How has New Brunswick become a primary destination for oil and gas companies? Two reasons in particular stand out: 1) The government does not know how it will manage shale gas exploration (having only just released its “framework for a long-term action plan to manage the exploration, development and utilization of domestic natural gas” last Thursday evening) - which means companies that invest early will have a say in developing gas exploitation policies; 2) In terms of gas concentrations per square kilometer, New Brunswick may hold North America’s largest shale bed [PDF].

New Brunswick was not on the gas industry’s radar a couple of years ago but things are changing rapidly as American gas developers are rushing across the border to snap up exploration rights in order to win big in the destructive shale boom.

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