These survey results show that New Brunswickers are starting to understand what shale gas is and I believe are asking to know more about what it all means. Not many months ago, when we talked about shale gas the biggest response was "what is it?"
The government has announced that they will be going around the province soon to talk to New Brunswickers about shale gas and to listen to our thoughts and concerns regarding this issue. This is our opportunity to be sure to emphasize the need for proper regulations, monitoring and enforcement of those regulations in the key areas we have been promoting.
*Last Tuesday, September 13, we met with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (representing 90% of all the oil and natural gas companies in Canada) upon their invitation to have a meeting. We were very impressed with this meeting and were happy with the announcement they made in Alberta on September 8 commiting to support a responsible approach to water management, protecting water resources during sourcing, use and handling, supporting increased regulations governing hydraulic fracturing operations, water use and water protection, and have announced a commitment to 5 guiding principles: (See attachments.)
1. To safeguard the quality and quantity of regional surface and groundwater resources, through sound wellbore construction practices, sourcing fresh water alternatives and recycling water for reuse.
2. Measure and disclose their water use with the goal to reduce.
3. Support the development of fracturing fluid additives with the least environmental risks.
4. Support the disclosure of fracturing fluid additives.
5. Continue to advance, collaborate on and communicate technologies and best practices that reduce the potential environmental risks.
We liked the support of and commitment to:
- baseline testing of ground water before any development by government or third-party professionals.
- need for wellbore integrity.
- more openness to the public by providing the water usage results and advocating for the government to collect comprehensive data and report it publically
- use fewer and less hazardous chemicals
- disclose the chemicals in fracturing fluids. It has been voluntary and we are extremely happy to hear industry state, "We also support action by provincial governments to make disclosure mandatory, and to collect and publish fracking fluid contents on websites (like FracFocus.org)."
- and to collaborate on the development and implementation of key technologies focused on reducing the industry's environmental impact.
*With this announcement by the natural gas industry in support of increased government regulations, we believe this is the right next step to keep pressure on the government to deliver on their promise to do so. If we are asking for an increased regulatory framework and the industry is supportive as well, then the government needs to make sure they do it.
*We happened to bump into Mark Weis from the Executive Council, who works on the shale gas regualtions committee from government before we met with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and he said that the government is working on 12 key regulations currently. He stated that he wanted to meet soon so I hope to be able to update everyone before too long on where the government is at in their development of better regulations, monitoring and enforcement.
Anyway, I would love to hear your feedback on this information when you have a minute, as we move forward with all the stakeholders to ensure all New Brunswickers are protected. Also, if you are interested in being part of our Board, we would love to have a couple more.