A 15 year old wrote a letter that was published in Le Devoir on April 21, 2011. I was impressed that a young person would take the time and effort to communicate their concerns over an issue like shale gas. Here is the letter I wrote to Laurence in response:
I think your letter is great and it goes straight to the main point. Does the development of natural resources improve our society for ourselves and for future generations?
I have a daughter who is sixteen years old close to your age. I have four other children too. My oldest daughter graduated from McGill as a geologist and worked fluently in French at James Bay and hopes to live in Quebec permanently. They all are concerned about the things you are concerned about and I am concerned first for them.
I believe strongly that for the good of humanity we must continue to provide the raw materials that are required to make our clothing, our Ipods, our homes and virtually everything around us. Of course energy is required for us to live and for our industries to make the things we take for granted.
For my children’s sake there is no point if we don’t also preserve and protect a clean environment to enjoy our lives in good health.
Is it possible for a natural gas well to create more methane in farmer’s wells that is there already? Is it possible that some flow back waters could spill to create a local contamination? We admit it is possible no matter how careful we are. We should remember it is also possible for the chemical plants, the mines, the refineries, the pulp and paper mills, trucks, rail cars, even farmers to also have an accident. Our industry has fewer accidents than any other in Alberta but sadly we still do have them.
So for every activity there is an impact and a benefit and when you say no to one thing you say yes to something else (mazut, oil from Venezuala, natural gas from Alberta) The shale gas industry has drilled tens of thousands of wells. The impacts are well known and extremely well publicized as you say in your letter. But we have also learned a lot and we have discovered a solution to a world wide crisis in energy that will benefit humanity everywhere.
I hope one day you will visit Alberta. Not only do we have young people like my children who have the same concerns as you, we also have one of the most beautiful natural places in the world that tourists come to see from all over the world as you can see here http://www.travelalberta.com/en-ab/Gallery/Photos/Pages/default.aspx?mrkt=Alberta.
A strong Quebec is one that has a strong economic engine to support making its own decisions. By deciding to develop its natural resources, Quebec could join other provinces. They have become economic power houses creating strong foundations for social development and environmental protection for future generations throughout Canada. Investment and technology from the West can repay the legacy and recapture the spirit of the coureur de bois who founded our country.
Président et chef de la direction