Media have been reporting that the Government of Quebec has said natural gas development is dead for twenty five years. They were in fact more nuanced than that but we can’t say it was positive. The Government has clarified that if things change on social acceptability and benefits, due to technology for example, perhaps the door could open.
Most disappointing was repeating Martine Ouellete’s talking point of the Parti Quebecois that natural gas in Quebec was discovered in highly populated areas. This is just a myth. The farming areas in Pennsylvania and Western Canada currently supply much of Quebec’s gas. They are more densely populated than the discovery well area in Quebec. We have the pictures to prove it.
As disappointing, was repeating the lines of the BAPE that natural gas doesn’t have economic benefits or profitability. The BAPE mandate was to manage public consultations on the most comprehensive scientific study on shale gas to date in Canada. The scientists identified the risks and potential impacts and industry agreed with virtually all of the report.
The BAPE condemned shale gas based on its lack of benefits. It wasn’t their mandate nor their expertise and all evidence demonstrates why.
The BAPE should rush courier their report to the United States and Western Canada. How else will they know that there aren’t enough benefits to justify natural gas development and the door should be shut there too. Or maybe it’s better not to tell them so they will keep selling their gas to Quebec.
The BAPE itself concludes that gas shortages in Quebec are due to a lack of transport infrastructure not production elsewhere. Then as if to prove their lack of economic expertise the BAPE implicitly concludes that spending billions on infrastructure to obtain more distant foreign gas is better economically A school child can see through this. How will Quebec industry ever be competitive if denied the benefits of local natural gas?
Mr. Couillard himself demanded Quebec have a secure supply of natural gas. You just can’t get more secure than local.
Mr. Couillard is correct to say local natural gas does not have social acceptability. Neither do thirty other blocked projects in Quebec.
The BAPE is right when it says we need public confidence that we can manage our impacts.
Everyone already knew this. Isn’t the point now to develop a plan and a road map to gain public confidence and social acceptability? Industry gets it had the wrong approach last time and has changed its approach. We need Government to realize it needs a different approach too.