Premier David Alward has stated in the media that, although his government doesn't know yet if shale gas deposits are viable enough for an industry to take off in New Brunswick, it was going ahead this fall with public information sessions in MLA ridings anyway.
Since this publication recently posted a Natural Gas Group (NGG) memo to MLA's about information sessions in their ridings geared towards how local businesses could benefit from industry spin offs, it is only logical to conclude those information sessions Alward and the NGG talk of are one and the same.
We wondered why the Alward government is going ahead with economic spin off meetings with local businesses if it's not sure whether a shale gas industry will actually develop here. We posed the question to NGG spokesman Marc Belliveau. Below is his response:
"While the government is still waiting to see if there is a viable full-scale industry in the future, there are a number of areas that government officials are working on, as outlined in the Natural Gas Development Action Plan (Framework) which is available for viewing as part of the report from the Natural Gas Forum on June 23, 2011*. They are: a communications and Engagement Plan (parts of which were launched this week); an Environmental, Health and Safety Protection Plan; Economic Benefits Plan (which relates to meetings explaining economic spin offs and the industries associated with full development); a Resource Development Plan; and Community Development Approach.
The reason all of these are being worked on is that it would be irresponsible not to be ready as a province, should the industry discover that there is gas which can be extracted from shale on a significant scale. The province would be ill-prepared otherwise, and that would cause a great deal of issues on many levels."
*The Purple Violet Press has downloaded this document and is available to any readers who contact us via e-mail. We can reply with the document in an attachment.