Not the brand we want

Funny thing about little things.  They can have big consequences.  Checking my email alerts this morning I was inundated with articles from far and wide exclaiming “Southwestern Resources stops shale gas tests, citing safety concerns”.

This story was picked up in at least a dozen sources (those that I look at) including international sources such as oil & gas publications.

There is a good story on this in the TJ this morning.

Not exactly the kind of ‘open for business’ brand we should be going for.  I realize that the vast majority of protesters are not violent but it doesn’t take much.

4 thoughts on “Not the brand we want

  1. That good story, which we all now came from a post on this blog, and quite frankly, if one strips away the condescending tone and looked at the information held within, it is informative and raised a couple of questions in my mind, especially whether the regulation in North Dakota came before the industry, and what were the direct economic benefits that resulted?

    “hydrofracking has been credited with reducing unemployment in the state to the lowest in the U.S.”

    I would like to know more about this. How did it accomplish this exactly and how could this apply to NB?

    “North Dakotans have succeeded in developing a regulatory framework to ensure that environmental safety comes before profits. Every drop of the friction reducer must be recycled.”

    No such regulatory framework existed before the industry started drilling in New Brunswick, and what exists only came to fruition after public protest. It appears to me like Government and Industry put the court before the horse and are behaving more like “incompetent operators drilling gassy coal fields”, than good corporate citizens.

    I think more than anything, it’s the paternalistic attitude that comes through that commentary which doesn’t really do anything to bring the sides together, and may be indicative of the whole debate.

    He even states that there was lots of public protest in North Dakota in the beginning. It sounds to me like the industry hasn’t learned much from that experience about getting public support for a controversial industry, or they don’t try unless regulated.

    As for our reputation, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Oil and gas companies have ventured into the most corrupt and despotic regimes in the world to get to that precious material to make money. (i.e. Talismen in Sudan). I am sure a few protestors won’t bother them much.

  2. Oh sure, a little violence? I bet. What goes in the U.S goes here. Thats the law.

    COLUMBUS — The head of Nebraska’s largest utility believes recent regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency are simply “the tip of the iceberg” in what could be a long line of costly measures aimed at reducing pollutants generated by fossil fuel-powered plants.

    Nebraska Public Power District President and CEO Pat Pope, addressing Columbus Noon Rotary this week, said the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) imposed last month is just one of two or three dozen initiatives that could affect electric utilities over the coming years as the EPA comes down hard on air and water pollutants and solid-waste discharges.

    Read more:

  3. I couldn’t agree more that this hurts the “NB brand”. If you’re a business or business leader looking to expand and you see this type of attitude in what is supposed to be a progressive capitalist society with a good social lean, what would you do?

    We are a have not province. We will continue to be a have not province unless we collectively embrace more progressive economic development policies. And until then, we’ll still be wondering how we’re going to pay for the healthcare bills associated with our parents generation, as well as our children’s education.

    By no means am I saying we need to harm our people or our natural resource base by doing so, but please let’s look at the facts. I believe this is a case that has not effectively been brought about face to the NB people either by the Govt or by industry, I also believe that it is something which would quell the debate and enhance NBers trust in further NR-based economic development.

    We all agree it has to be done responsibly. Let’s not let emotion get in the way of it and present the facts, because at the end of the day most of us are asking for improved social infrastructure with no change impact on lifestyle, income, or taxation.

    Somethings gotta give.

  4. “We all agree it has to be done responsibly”

    I’m not sure that we do all agree. Quite a few of those protesting about shale gas do not want any development of the gas to go forward under any circumstances; nor do they want to see any mining go forward.

    We have a substantial number of people in this province who are quite comfortable with things they way they are; they either have fairly secure jobs or are happy to eke things out by taking work as it comes. They don’t really want much to change, and no matter what regulation and enforcement provisions are put into place, they will find a reason to say NO.

    Shale gas will not turn NB around by itself; the profit margins do not seem to be that great and we need to maximize the added value from that resource. It does have the potential to create some positive economic impact, but we really need to put more thought into things other than industries that simply extract and export a raw resource.

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