New Brunswick’s anti-shale gas alliance consisting of twenty-eight community organizations is using social media to enable New Brunswickers to send a text message to our fifty-five MLAs denouncing shale gas mining and exploration in our province. Organizers say that with this Text Message Action Campaign ( http://nben.ca/en/get-involved/action-alerts ), additional public scrutiny will be focused on the Alward Government’s push for oil and gas corporations to explore and extract shale gas using hydraulic fracturing.
The texting initiative was planned and conceived in partnership with the Council of Canadians. With its ease of use and quick result, text messaging will allow New Brunswickers to express their opinion directly to our elected members from the comfort of their own homes.
The letter contained in the text message sent to New Brunswick legislators includes arguments championed by economists, geologists, engineers and former industry insiders which contradict industry and government speaking points centred around job creation, royalty revenues and public benefits. They include the following:
- The need for industry to import skilled workers from outside New Brunswick as has been happening in the US and western Canada
- Inflated royalty payments which do not take into consideration increased health care costs due to the migration of carcinogenic materials into our air, water and the land on which we live
- Reduced tax revenues from decreased property assessments and reductions in new home construction in areas ear-marked for shale gas development
- Reduced tax revenues as a result of citizens and visitors to the province seeking to escape an ever-increasing level of industrialization and the resulting pollution
- Increased road and bridge repair expenditures in counties where existing infrastructure was not engineered to withstand tens of thousands of truckloads of water, waste water, and methane gas
The Text Message Action Campaign is scheduled to go on indefinitely. Organizers invite New Brunswickers to take this opportunity to make their voice heard, especially in light of the Alward Government’s decision to not engage in consultations with the public and its intention to continue on a path towards shale gas production.