What do shale gas and blueberries have in common?

The Province of New Brunswick covers a land area of 71,377.18 square kilometres.  That works out to 17.63 million acres.  Each shale gas well takes up between one and three acres.  Using the high number of acres and assuming a high number of wells drilled on the high side that would result in something like 30,000 acres over a 30-year period

This would result in a total land area allocated to oil and gas development of 0.17 percent.  That is less than one fifth of one percent or about the same as is currently used for blueberries.

The legislation forces gas development firms to re-mediate the land back to its pre-well state so even if the industry continued beyond 30 years it is hard to see how it could ever consume more than a fraction of one percent of New Brunswick’s total land mass.

I raise this point only because a friend of mine used a variant of the term “industrial wasteland” again when discussing the shale gas industry.  I’m all for a vigorous debate about shale gas but as the old saying goes “you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts”.

If New Brunswick gets around to developing its natural gas reserves it will create more industrial activity.  There will be more trucks on the road, more burly men in the woods and, yes, more people in Emergency Rooms with fractures and other maladies.

But there is no evidence vast swathes of the province will be turned into an industrial wasteland.