New Brunswick elected a new government this week that has committed to enacting a moratorium on shale gas in the province. Shale gas was the major election issue, with the Progressive Conservative party being the only pro-shale gas party and the four others having varied positions on a moratorium. Congratulations to premier-elect Brian Gallant and the New Brunswick Liberals for the win.
But even bigger congratulations goes to the anti-shale gas movement, who worked tirelessly for the past four years to achieve broad public support and ultimately unseat the industry-friendly PCs under Premier David Alward.
Community groups formed across the province, with Indigenous, francophone, anglophone communities working to educate the public and protect the water.
Penobsquis remains the one community that has had ongoing shale gas operations (along with potash mining) for quite some time now. The small community in south-western New Brunswick is divided and despite the terrible smell and the reality that the local environment is deteriorating, some are afraid to speak out.
The Atlantic region more broadly seems to be speaking out and being heard. The people who, as they learn more about the risks associated with the shale gas/fracking industry, are standing up and saying no. In Newfoundland and Labrador the government announced they would review the practice and therefore established a de facto moratorium in the province; Nova Scotia's government recently completed an independent study of the industry and a week after completion, announced they would legislate a moratorium during the fall sitting of the legislature; and in PEI there is little industry action but opposition continues to build.
So, just as we are watching for the text of Nova Scotia's legislated moratorium, and watching for more details on the Newfoundland independent study, so too are we watching how the new N.B. government will handle everything shale gas over the coming weeks. Expectations are high.
For more, read: "New Brunswick looks forward to fracking moratorium"; Fracking a key issue in the defeat of the Alward government in New Brunswick"; and "As New Brunswickers get ready to vote, the Council of Canadians releases party positions on shale gas, Conservatives missing in action."
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