“Flying on a jet plane… with apologies to John Denver!”

the old man in the hatold man

 

I would like to think that I am a reasonable guy. Handsome and slim too! Too bad my wife and friends don’t think so too!

I try to keep it under control. I take my medicines every day and limit my intake of news, a bit. No 24 hours news channels, at least.

Nevertheless I’m boiling today. The federal finance minister was in town today. (With the feds, “in town” really means closest to the nearest airport, for quick getaway purposes.)

The news headlines proclaim “Federal finance minister endorses shale gas development in N.B.”

I mean, why not?

If the province of New Brunswick has a mining boon, tax revenues will be up and transfer payments will be down. Ottawa- win,win.

New Brunswick will be left with the mess. Lose. Remember the feds devolved environmental assessments to the provinces, who, don’t have a clue how to do them.

Proof. Look in British Columbia at the Mount Polley situation. The CBC headlines noted “Mount Polley mine tailings pond breach followed years of government warnings.” Not Good. It will probably bankrupt the company and the province and taxpayers will clean up the mess. The motto of mining/exploration companies- PRIVATE PROFIT/ PUBLIC PERIL.

Proof. The fracking test wells……just the test wells in Nova Scotia generated 30 million litres (12 olympic size pools) of waste water in the short time that they were allowed to explore- that they now want to bring to New Brunswick to get rid of. According to CBC News, “In Debert, the municipal council rejected treated wastewater from the same company over concerns over high levels of sodium chloride and some radioactive material.”

How stupid is that? How stupid are we even to consider it. Guess they’re just naturally smarter in Nova Scotia! Must be the water?

New Brunswick is covered with surface water- brooks, streams, lakes, rivers ditches that run in the spring and dry up in the summer. There is NO WAY to safely dispose of any exploration/mining tailings/fracking water that is not harmful to the environment. These projects just generate overwhelming amounts of this toxic crud and in no way is proper disposal priced into the commodity.
Why bother- the public will pick up the tab when it all goes south.

I do not think this view is anti-development- just fair development that puts a fair price on public risk and that private companies wanting to do business in the province with Crown resources must be prepared to fully fund, up front, the costs of dealing with the toxic byproducts of their commercial activity. This is not a radical, tree hugger request. It is simply good people/taxpayer economics.

Further reading:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/federal-finance-minister-endorses-shale-gas-development-in-n-b-1.2730588

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mount-polley-mine-tailings-pond-breach-followed-years-of-government-warnings-1.2728591

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/wastewater-treatment-company-seeks-to-dump-30m-litres-in-n-b-1.2729616

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