Tag Archives: Shale Gas

Indigenous leaders warn of protests, halting developments over shale gas exemption

Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Roger Augustine says ‘the blueprint’ for government to consult Indigenous groups is there. (Radio-Canada)

‘It is our job to ensure the protection of lands and waters for our future generations’: Chief Ross Perley

Top Indigenous leaders are warning that the Higgs government has made “a serious mistake” on shale gas that may reignite protests like those seen in the Rexton area in 2013.

They say the province’s duty to consult Indigenous people is clearly defined, and the government should have known how to proceed as it tries to restart the industry in one part of the province.

“It’s not as if this is all new,” said Roger Augustine, the regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. “The blueprint is there.”

“There’s a lot of case law,” said Chief George Ginnish of Natoaganeg First Nation. “There are actual court cases. … If he needs clarity, we’ll certainly provide clarity if that’s what he needs.”

‘Reckless voice’

Augustine said the Progressive Conservative government’s decision to lift the moratorium on fracking in the Sussex area risks alarming members of First Nations communities.

“When a reckless voice speaks out, be it the premier or the prime minister, they should realize what could happen, what it causes in communities,” he said. “Once we’ve got outrage out there, and we’ve got roadblocks, we’ve got cars burned.”

He was referring to anti-shale gas protests near Elsipogtog First Nation in 2013 that saw violent confrontations between protestors and police.

Chief George Ginnish of Natoaganeg First Nation says there’s case law that clarifies government’s duty to consult. (Hadeel Ibrahim, CBC)

Ginnish warned that Mi’kmaq chiefs may pursue “whatever remedies might be available to us otherwise, legally” following the snub.

“In a partnership approach, you talk to your partners before you make a decision, not after,” said Ginnish, who co-chairs Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Inc., made up of the nine Mi’kmaq bands in the province.

“You would think going forward a new government would want to build a good relationship and perhaps learn from the mistakes of the past.”

Higgs given instructions

This week Premier Blaine Higgs revealed that his cabinet had approved an order to end the moratorium in one part of the province. It would allow Corridor Resources to resume fracking its wells near Penobsquis, in the Sussex area.

Higgs said he met with Augustine last week to discuss the issue. Augustine told CBC News on Friday that he’s unhappy that Higgs told reporters, even after their meeting, that the duty to consult is “vague” and “undefined.”

He said he left notes with the premier after the meeting explaining how the duty to consult — laid out in several Supreme Court of Canada decisions on resource development projects — should work.

And he said that begins with Higgs saying publicly in the legislature that he honours and respects Aboriginal and treaty rights as laid out in the 1982 Constitution.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jake Stewart sounded a conciliatory note at the legislature Friday, acknowledging that “there’s lots of questions today on whether or not we did it wrong.”

Reset?

Stewart has said repeatedly this week that he recognizes Aboriginal treaties and Aboriginal rights, and he committed again Friday to meeting with chiefs and inviting them to lay out how they want consultations to unfold.

Jake Stewart, minister of Aboriginal affairs, appeared conciliatory at the New Brunswick legislature on Friday. (CBC)

“As tricky as that issue it, that’s a good starting point to at least get the consultation process right,” he said. “Maybe this is the reset we need to sit down and say, ‘How can we define this? How would you like this to go?'”

Augustine said it’s not too late for a reset. He said he has offer to assemble Indigenous representatives to talk to provincial officials about the process.

But he wouldn’t say whether communities would ever consent to shale gas development. “That’s down the road,” he said.

The government said there’s a potential investment of $70 million if Corridor can restart its fracking near Penobsquis, but no new development is likely before 2021.

The government says there’s a potential investment of $70 million if Corridor Resources can restart its fracking near Penobsquis. (CBC)

The Opposition Liberals, who brought in the provincial moratorium when they were in power, say the PC government has gone against the definition of the duty to consult from a 2010 Supreme Court decision.

That ruling said that the duty arises “when the Crown has knowledge, real or constructive, of the potential existence of the Aboriginal right or title and contemplates conduct that might adversely affect it.”

‘Happened over and over’

Augustine, who has been dealing with governments on resource issues for four decades, said he warned SWN Resources before they began seismic testing in 2013 that they needed to follow a consultation process.

“Every protest that I’ve seen across the country has already been the industry thinking they can just plow their way through the territory and pay no attention to the rights of the people, pay no attention to the history and culture of our people,” he said.

“That was a big mistake and that’s what happened over and over again.”

Anti-shale gas protesters blocked Highway 11 near Rexton in December of 2013. (Twitter)

Stewart maintained Friday that until cabinet approved the order to exempt the Sussex area from the moratorium, there was not much to consult on.

But he said he and Energy and Resource Development Minister Mike Holland were set to meet four Mi’kmaq chiefs and an elder later the same day.

Wolastoqey Nation opposition

In a statement released Friday by the Wolostoqey Nation, comprised of St. Mary’s, Woodstock, Madawaska, Oromocto, Tobique and Kingsclear First Nations, leaders denounced the “shocking, unacceptable, and unlawful” lifting of the moratorium.

The letter said part of the area where the moratorium is being lifted includes unceded Wolastoqey territory.

“The Province’s attempt to secretly open the door to fracking in our Territory is shocking, unacceptable, and unlawful. They need to restore the Moratorium immediately, and they need to have a serious dialogue with Indigenous peoples before taking any more steps in that direction,” said Patricia Bernard, Chief of Madawaska First Nation.

The statement also quoted Ross Perley, Chief of Tobique First Nation, saying he is disappointed by the move and promises to stop development.

“It falls short of the Higgs Government’s promise of defining a new relationship with the Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaw Nations,” he said. “It is our job to ensure the protection of lands and waters for our future generations and we will unify with our Mi’kmaw brothers and sisters to stop this development.”

By: Jacques Poitras ·  CBC News · Posted: Jun 08, 2019

[SOURCE]

SWN Canada granted one-year extension to search for shale gas in N.B.

Protesters cheer after trucks owned by SWN Resources leave the scene of shale gas protests near Laketon, N.B. on Nov. 14, 2013. Brion Robinson/Global News

Protesters cheer after trucks owned by SWN Resources leave the scene of shale gas protests near Laketon, N.B. on Nov. 14, 2013. Brion Robinson/Global News

By Red Power Media Staff

New Brunswick’s Department of Energy and Mines has granted SWN Canada a one-year extension to search for shale gas.

The company’s licenses were set to expire, but SWN Resources was granted permission to extend their search.

The extension went into effect Monday.

“While a licence to search gives the holder rights to the area in question, it is subject to government’s proposed moratorium on hydraulic fracturing,” said New Brunswick’s Energy Minister, Donald Arseneault.

SWN Resources applied for a six year extension on their exploration licences. But because SWN has a licence and not a lease, it is only eligible for extensions of one year at a time.

The government says this move shows that it is still committed to the industry, with what it calls a safe and sustainable approach.

The opposition says these license extensions would’ve been worth $47 million based on what it says SWN was willing to invest.

“They’re giving them a one year, no cost, no conditions license to a company that is now gone and taking private investment, capital, and job creation,” says New Brunswick PC MLA Jake Stewart.

As far as the industry goes, shale gas supporters say a one-year extension is an empty development.

“SWN signed those original licenses in 2009 and for five years not a single well was drilled,” says Stewart.

Shale gas proponents say they’re not surprised licenses have been extended.

The Chamber has an energy summit organized in June, where they’re aiming to educate the public on potential energy projects.

Clashes In Algeria: 40 Police Officers Injured At Anti-Fracking Protests (Video)

 

By Black Powder | Red Power Media

In Algeria forty police officers were injured in clashes with protesters at a rally against shale gas exploration.

“The town of In-Salah saw incidents involving public order, initiated by a group of young people protesting against shale gas operations in the region,” the ministry said in a statement.

It said the clashes “caused injuries to 40 police officers, including two who were seriously injured.”

Protesters set fire to the police headquarters and the residence of the police chief, as well as part of a police barracks and a police truck.

The protesters threw stones and other objects at police, who responded with beatings, tear gas and water cannons. A dozen people were arrested.

Photo: Desert Boys / Facebook

Photo: Desert Boys / Facebook

Tens of thousands of people in Algeria have joined a mass movement to halt fracking. The protests have involved peaceful blockades and marches with broad swaths of society.

The anti-fracking movement has been met by state repression. But instead of deflating the movement, state repression inflamed the anger on the streets.

Anti-shale gas demonstrations have increased in since late December, when Algerian oil company Sonatrach announced it had successfully completed its first pilot drilling in the In-Salah region.

Sonatrach announced in early February that its exploratory drilling for shale gas using hydraulic fracturing would continue despite mounting hostility among people living nearby who are concerned about the consequences on the environment.

Continuous demonstrations were held for two months at In-Salah, the town closest to the drilling sites.

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Algeria has seen massive investment in shale gas to compensate for declining oil revenues.

According to international studies, Algeria has the fourth largest reserves of shale gas globally, after the US, China and Argentina.

 

N.B. shale gas protester gets six-month sentence, probation for making threats against media

A police cruiser on fire is seen at the site of a shale gas protest in Rexton, N.B., Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (Ossie Michelin / Twitter)

A police cruiser on fire is seen at the site of a shale gas protest in Rexton, N.B., Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (Ossie Michelin / Twitter)

 CTV News

A 26-year-old man from the Elsipogtog First Nation, who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a 2013 fracking protest in New Brunswick, has been sentenced.

Tyson Peters pleaded guilty last September to charges of uttering threats, assaulting a police officer and intimidation towards the media, which were laid after separate incidents in the fall of 2013, New Brunswick RCMP say.

On Friday Peters was sentenced in Moncton provincial court to six-month conditional sentence, and 12 months of probation after the sentence has been served.

The sentence includes two months of house arrest for each of the three offences, but to be served concurrently.

The charges against Peters are related to his participation in protests against shale gas operations in the Rexton, N.B. area, stemming from incidents that occurred between Sept. 30 and Oct. 19, 2013.

Emails show federal officials worried about second Idle No More movement

Negotiations between protesters and police in Rexton, N.B., as police began enforcing an injunction to end an ongoing demonstration against shale gas exploration in eastern New Brunswick on Thursday, Oct.17, 2013. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Negotiations between protesters and police in Rexton, N.B., as police began enforcing an injunction to end an ongoing demonstration against shale gas exploration in eastern New Brunswick on Thursday, Oct.17, 2013. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Benjamin Shingler | The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Federal officials closely tracked the fallout of an RCMP raid on a First Nations protest against shale-gas exploration in New Brunswick, at one point raising concerns it could spawn another countrywide movement like Idle No More.

Documents obtained under access-to-information legislation reveal a lengthy email chain last fall monitoring events related to a blockade near Rexton, N.B., about 70 kilometres north of Moncton.

Members of the Elsipogtog First Nation, who were concerned about the environmental impact of shale-gas development, didn’t want energy company SWN Resources to do testing work on their traditional territory.

Police officers enforced an injunction on Oct. 17 to end the blockade of a compound where the company stored exploration equipment.
The early-morning raid led to violent clashes between officers and protesters. By the end of the day, six police cars had been torched and 40 people arrested.

As the situation unfolded, a government official sent an email reporting “growing support of protesters by first nation (sic) communities and other groups across the country.”

“An ‘Idle No More’ like movement of protests is reportedly being planned starting tomorrow,” wrote Alain Paquet, director of operations for Public Safety Canada.

“We will keep you informed through our Situation Reports…”
Those in the email chain included staff within the Privy Council Office, the central bureaucracy which serves the prime minister and cabinet.

The Government Operations Centre, an arm of Public Safety Canada, emailed out daily reports detailing planned protests across the country.

On its website, the centre says it provides an “all-hazards integrated federal emergency response to events.”

A notice emailed later on Oct. 17 gave a rundown of planned protests and whether they posed a threat of violence.

“Other than the events at Rexton, N.B., so far calls are for peaceful action,” the notice said.

“Most of the protest activity to date under the Idle No More banner or related environmental or First Nations issues activities have been peaceful.”

The daily updates were compiled using media reports and information from the RCMP. But much of the information was derived by monitoring social media postings from the protesters themselves.

One update noted that the “creators of Idle No More in Lethbridge, AB, said via Twitter that they wasted no time in getting a group together to march down the city’s main drag Thursday afternoon.”

It also noted reports of “small demonstrations in New York City and Washington, D.C. outside the Canadian missions,” as well as in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

Another document outlined the “key messages” for the RCMP when fielding questions about its handling of the New Brunswick blockade, which protesters argued had been heavy-handed.

“Our members demonstrated incredible professionalism as they worked to resolve the situation,” one bullet point in the document said.

“Some in the crowd threw rocks and bottles at them and sprayed them with bear spray. Setting police cars on fire created a dangerous situation for all present and at that point our members were forced to physically confront some in the crowd who refused to obey the law.”

By Sunday, Oct. 20, three days after the arrests, a government update said “the number of protests continues to decline.”

“Less than five are planned for today according to the Idle No More website with one protest planned for Saint John, New Brunswick on Monday,” the email said.

Susan Levi-Peters, one of the protesters and a former chief, said the emails reflect how Ottawa is more focused on trying to control aboriginal people rather come up with solutions.

“Canada has to have a better relationship with First Nations people,” said Levi-Peters, who ran for the NDP in 2011.

“I think Ottawa is misunderstanding First Nations people. And they’re getting more educated. I think Ottawa is in a shock because they don’t know how to treat them anymore.”

The shale-gas protests died down after Texas-based SWN Resources wrapped up its exploration work and left the province in December.

Last month, two men involved in the events of Oct. 17 were sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Germain Breau, a 21-year-old of the Elsipogtog First Nation, was found guilty of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and four counts of pointing a firearm.

Aaron Francis, a 20-year-old of the Eskasoni First Nation, was convicted of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Both men were also given two years probation following their jail time.

An email to Public Safety Canada asking whether it is standard procedure to closely track social media, media and RCMP reports drew the following response: “The GOC provides strategic-level coordination on behalf of the Government of Canada in response to an emerging or occurring event affecting the national interest.”