Subsidies and Other Concessions to Big Oil and Gas
28 November 2013
Every year the Federal Government gives $1.4 billion in tax subsidies to Oil and Gas Corporations in Canada. Globally, subsidies for the industry are estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year. (From a report by the International Energy Agency, 28 countries offering advice and analysis of energy practices).
BlueGreen Energy, an organisation dedicated to bringing unions and environmentalists together believes that investing oil and gas subsidies in renewable energy would result in a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and would give Canada credibility at home and abroad that it presently lacks. Out of 58 developed countries, Canada ranked 55th for its efforts (or lack thereof) to create strategies to lower carbon and methane emissions. Last year over 5 million people world-wide were employed in jobs that promote renewable
Other government concessions to the industry include assurances of "best practices" with regard to regulations that are not necessarily safe or scientifically sound practices. The N.B. regulations to protect Municipal Water Supplies are a case in point:
N.B. Best Practices To Protect What Scientists Have Reported
Municipal Water Supplies In Peer-Reviewed Studies
Concerning Water Contamination
and Proximity To Gas Wells
500 m Distance from public water 1.0 km Distance from gas wells
supply to gas wells allowed where elevated levels of
hydro-carbons were found
250 m Distance from shoreline of a 3.0 km Distance from gas wells
reservoir to gas wells allowed where the levels of
by N.B. regulations arsenic, selenium,
strontium and dissolved
250 m Distance from water supply solids exceeded the U.S.
(surface intake) to gas wells EPA's drinking water
by N.B. regulations max. contamination limit.*
Best practices are determined by what industry can afford, they are not a standard for judging health and environmental safety.
Air pollution is exacerbated at every stage of shale gas production. State and Provincial governments are absorbing the increasing cost to the health care system that results from chronic exposure to high levels of ozone in the atmosphere. The American Lung Association measured the associated health costs of air pollution from nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC's), which produce ozone.
The following are the increased health care costs extrapolated from the annual amounts of NOx and VOC's found in the air near shale gas wells in the U.S.:
State/Shale Gas Field NOx & VOC Emissions Increased Annual
Health Care Costs
Texas (Barnett shale) 44,165 tons/year $73,000,000
Arkansas (Haynesville shale) 20,347 tons/year $33,500,000
Pennsylvania (Marcellus shale) 19,300 tons/year $32,000,000**
In the past four years the provincial government has granted leases for gas exploration in N.B.'s top tourism areas. Exploration has begun in and around some of our most popular coastal and river regions:
-Miramichi River- heart of salmon fishing in N.B.
-GrandLake/Grand Meadows- one of the largest Atlantic wetlands
-Kouchibouguac National Park- warm beaches and the Atlantic Coastal Drive
-Shediac beaches- draw out province tourists every summer
-King's Landing/Mactaquac Provincial Park- signature destination in N.B.
-Nashwaak, Petticodiac, Kennebecasis Rivers- provide recreational activities for local residents and tourists
The shale gas industry, a source of short-lived jobs and royalties could ruin the tourism industry that provides jobs for 35,000 people in N.B. annually and which is entirely sustainable, not to mention the potential loss of some of the loveliest rural landscapes in the province.
Donna Mclellan for the
Tantramar Aliance Against Hydro-Fracking
* "Increased stray gas abundance in a subset of drinking water wells near Marcellus shale gas extraction", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
**Emission figures from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.