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Gas shale: still no social acceptability, according to the opposition from NB.

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A moratorium on hydraulic fracturing has existed in New Brunswick since 2014. In this photo, workers from Pennsylvania work at the site of a wells near Burlington on April 23, 2010.

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As New Brunswick business people call for the lifting of the 10-year-old moratorium on hydraulic fracturing to allow large-scale exploitation of natural gas in the province, opposition parties think that there is still no interest in this industry.

In a recent column, the CEO of the New Brunswick Economic Council, Gaëtan Thomas, suggested developing the natural gas sector to stimulate the province's economy and, at the same time, to help coal-using countries to pollute less by providing them with a greener source of energy. He says he is in favor of lifting the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick.

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According to Fredericton, only a tiny portion of shale gas reserves are currently exploited, namely at the McCully field, near Sussex , the only place exempted by the moratorium on fracking.

For the New Brunswick Liberal Party, however, there is no question of lifting the moratorium before there is, in the province, sufficient social acceptability for this type of policy. energy.

There is no discussion at the level of our party to lift the moratorium before these conditions are met, says René Legacy, spokesperson for natural resources and energy development.

The real question is whether our party would be ready to put the energy into seeking social acceptance in order to seek out shale gas. No, I didn't feel that. What we want to get from our party is long-term green solutions, adds Mr. Legacy.

Anyone who simply says no [to the development of the shale gas sector] is not looking at the bigger picture, says Premier Blaine Higgs.

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New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs. (File photo)

Asked whether he intended to lift the moratorium on fracking, the first Minister responded that the Sussex region is already being studied to further exploit shale gas and that discussions are taking place with indigenous communities.

I hope that I or future leaders will not close the door on the enormous economic potential that exists in our province, he said.

However, according to Jean-Thomas Bernard, specialist in energy issues at the University of Ottawa, the example of British Columbia clearly shows that around fifteen #x27;years to develop this industry in New Brunswick.

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I don't think it's tomorrow that we'll see the machines to drill the ground and access production. Before we see this stage, there are still several seasons that will pass, predicts Mr. Bernard, who is a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Ottawa.

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Jean-Thomas Bernard, professor in the Department of Economic Sciences at the University of Ottawa. (File photo)

Although there is an export market for natural gas, in particular to replace the very polluting coal-fired power plants in Asia or to supply Europe deprived of Russian gas due to the war in Ukraine, this specialist notes that many obstacles remain to develop this type of industry.

A year ago, the terminal project of #x27;export of liquefied natural gas to Saint-Jean was notably abandoned.

For the professor, governments should avoid investing in this type of project.

We are talking about the decline of fossil fuels, so this is not x27;is not an industry of the future, and governments already have a lot of difficulty reducing [emissions of] greenhouse gases, so it is not popular to go and put money in new development, Mr. Bernard says.

A green government would ban not only hydraulic fracturing but also the development of all fossil fuels in the province. Increasing fossil gas production in the context that now exists with climate change is just a project for big companies to increase their profitability, says Green Party leader David Coon. p>

The leader of the Greens believes that shale gas is not a transition energy like biogas, wind energy, x27;solar energy and tidal energy.

Jean Philippe Sapinski, professor of environmental studies at the University of Moncton, does not think that the development of natural gas holds up economically.

During an interview on the show L'heure de pointe – Acadie, he notably argued that more jobs are being created in Canada in the renewable energy sector than in the fossil fuel sector.

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Jean Philippe Sapinski, professor of environmental studies at the University of Moncton. (Archive photo)

He believes that the transition to greener energy with natural gas is an idea that belongs to the past and which does not meet not to the current climate emergency.

We need to see what's happening overall. Once we no longer have a climate, we no longer have an economy. There's a crisis everywhere, so it's absurd to put that in contradiction. What we want is to close the oil industry to stop destroying the climate as quickly as possible, he says.

Professor Sapinski also believes that the Progressive Conservatives are irresponsible for wanting to launch the exploitation of shale gas within five years.

It's ruining the local environment, it's ruining water sources, it's ruining the air, people who live next to shale gas extraction wells are much more at risk of developing cancer. We have thousands of studies which today demonstrate beyond any doubt that this is going to happen, he said.

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