By André Faust
Recently a new shale gas report prepared by a panel of Canada’s top 14 scientists for environment Canada has concluded that government should slow down in developing the shale gas industry in New Brunswick. The conclusion supports the liberal party’s position that a moratorium should be in place until it can be determined that shale gas extraction poses no threat to people and the environment.
According to opposition leader Brian Gallant this report affirms what the liberals have been saying all along that we should put in place a moratorium so we can answer the unanswered questions. Gallant says that the Alward government is using the people of New Brunswick as guinea pigs to test the effects of hydraulic fracturing. Craig Leonard Minister of environment dismissed the report by saying that the province has passed a multitude of regulations that will prevent any catastrophic health and environmental damages. Craig Leonard’s response seems to suggest that the government has looked at all possible scenarios including, human error, mechanical error, structurally errors and natural occurring errors, Leonard believes that his regulations will prevent any possible errors from occurring.
If we look at past experiences where regulations did not prevent environmental disasters such as the Exxon Valdez where the captain was drunk at the wheel the result a major oil spill, the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which was caused by cutting corners which contributed to a valve failing, the Lac-Mégantic derailment. Did regulations have any effect on the outcomes?
Finance Minister Craig Leonard accuses anyone who presents him studies that are contrary to his belief as fear mongers. Is Craig Leonard experiencing cognitive dissonance? A state mind where a person experiences great discomforts when their core belief has been challenged by empirical evidence and they will attempt to justify their position by any means to lower their discomfort.
Craig Leonard talks about his regulations, to regulate the human aspect of shale development. Do his regulations also include the chief medical officer of health, Dr. Cleary 30 recommendations on protecting the health and welfare of New Brunswickers, if the new regulations do not include any of Dr. Cleary’s recommendations then that within itself would justify a moratorium.
Below is the report that was prepared for Environment Canada.