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Bill 106: Mayors call for overhaul of petroleum resource act

Published on: August 27, 2016 | Last Updated: August 27, 2016 7:13 AM EDT / Shaun Michaud / Montreal Gazette

Video Interview HERE

Three hundred and thirty-one towns across the province say Quebec is going too far with Bill 106, which gives companies the right to expropriate municipal land to extract oil.

The mayors of eight municipalities, mostly rural, made their case Friday in Montreal against the Petroleum Resource Act, part of Bill 106, which they say could damage their drinking water.

“When you have the Union des producteurs agricoles, the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, the Chambre des notaires, environmental organizations, citizen groups, and municipalities all saying no — it seems to me like the sign of a social consensus against hydrocarbon exploitation,” said sociologist Richard Langelier, a lawyer by training, whom the mayors hired as an adviser

The government’s plan with the Petroleum Resource Act is to create a framework for controlled oil and gas development, but critics contend it gives too much power to the industry.

The group of mayors, which included the mayor of Anticosti, are members of a committee that represents 331 Quebec municipalities who want the Petroleum Resource Act overhauled.

If the government were to adopt this law — “and that’s what they’re planning to do this fall” — it would remove all municipal powers, said François Boulay, mayor of Ristigouche Sud-Est near Baie des Chaleurs in the Gaspé. “Any new company that comes into the territory has carte blanche to proceed as they wish,” Boulay said.

According to the mayors, between 2010 and 2012, several towns in the St. Lawrence Valley adopted a bylaw stipulating that their drinking water sources had to be a minimum of two kilometres away from natural gas and oil facilities. If passed, Bill 106 would reduce that distance to 500 metres from the well head and 400 metres from the underground water source, they said.

“We’ve been trying to convince other municipalities and a fair number of them have joined the municipalities who’ve adopted a resolution asking the Environment Minister to allow us to increase the distances under our water protection bylaw,” said Boulay.

Véronique Normandin, press attaché for Energy Minister Pierre Arcand, said in an email that the minister was “open to making improvements on Bill 106” concerning drinking water. Normandin added that the bill is environmentally friendly.

“(It) is innovative in the sense that it expects companies will own higher liability insurance. It’s a new condition that aims exactly to guarantee the security of goods, people and the environment,” she said.

The mayors argue that the bill would strip them of their control over their towns’ futures. Article 55 grants the right to natural resource companies to expropriate landowners for industrial development without having to consult the municipality.

“They’re only informed 30 days before a natural gas or oil company is accessing the territory,” Langelier said.

Normandin countered that “expropriation would only be used as a last recourse and would be done according to prevailing Quebec rules.”

She added that expropriation was allowed only at the exploitation phase, not the exploration phase, and only if a landowner and a company were unable to strike a deal.

“The Minister repeated it several times, expropriation can only take place if public interest justifies it and a judge would rule on the matter,” she said.

The mayors are expected to meet again at a general assembly of the Fédération Québécoise des municipalités on Oct.1. to share their concerns with other mayors across the province.

 smichaud@postmedia.com

 

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Oil Trains – Scary Secrecy

Philly.com by By Paul Nussbaum / Inquirer Staff Writer – Sunday, May 24, 2015

When crude oil arrives at a refinery in South Philadelphia or Marcus Hook or Paulsboro, the refinery must have a public plan outlining the hazards, a detailed response to possible accidents, and worst-case scenarios for disasters that could endanger hundreds of thousands of people.

Not so the trains carrying oil to the refineries.

As they travel past the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia International Airport, along the Schuylkill Expressway, and past thousands of homes, schools and businesses, the oil trains need no public accounting of what they are carrying, or when or where, or what could happen if something goes wrong.

As Philadelphia becomes a major hub in the nation’s new oil boom, with about 150 million gallons of highly flammable crude arriving by train each week, a shroud of secrecy covers the trains, their cargoes and the safety of their infrastructure.

Lire la suite de l’article ICI

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This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate

by Naomi Klein, author.

If you were granted only one last book to read, ever, this is the one you must read.

Forget everything you think you know about global warming. The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism. The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.”  ThisChangesEverything.org

 

 

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Flabbergasted!

by Gérard Monpetit – December 22 2014

On November 15th 2014, the BAPE report (#307) was made public. This report essentially stated what citizens’ groups had been saying over the last five years. On page 397, the conclusion is crystal clear:«...the enquiry commission is of the opinion that it has not been demonstrated that exploration and exploitation of shale gas in the St-Lawrence lowlands using hydraulic fracturing techniques would be advantageous for Quebec.» Among the minority of people who don’t agree, there is Mr. Raymond Savoie, President of Gastem, who states that he is «flabbergasted»; on Radio Canada, he has said that he would have hoped for «…equitable treatment…» [1]

In the Yamaska valley, we know Mr. Savoie well since his company holds the claims for the drill sites located in Saint-Louis, Saint-Thomas d’Aquin, Saint-Barnabé-Sud and La Présentation. In September 2010, his collaborators at the Quebec Oil and Gas Association (QOGA) had organized three conferences to inform the population; it was more a proclamation of the triumphant conquest of Quebec by hydraulic fractures. On September 28, in Saint-Hyacinthe, the confrontation with the conquered citizens became explosive; Mr. Savoie was no doubt «flabbergasted» to see the citizens proclaim, in their own way, the Liberal slogan, « Maîtres chez nous (Masters of our own house)».

In 2007, Gastem and its affiliate Forest Oil descended upon Saint-Louis where they started work right in the middle of the village. At the onset, some citizens even thought that the preliminary landscaping efforts were for a residential development. Scanty information came to them late and a long time after the work had begun. The following year, a second phase began along with fracturing. Yet again, it was STEP-ASIDE-SONNY because we paid $0.10/h for the claims and it’s not your home anymore. Over a 93-day period, the inhabitants of Saint-Louis had to endure the noise, the dust and the smells emanating from Gastem’s operations that were underway a mere hundred meters from their patios. And, Mr. Savoie is «flabbergasted» that such blatant bullying is hotly denounced!

There are several ways for Gastem to show a lack of respect for Quebecers. On its website [2], everything is in English, including the press releases. «Gastem is a Quebec-based oil and gas exploration and development company holding exploration and storage rights to over 1.1 million acres….». Funny, wasn’t it Premier Robert Bourassa who declared that French was our official language? And this ex-member of Bourassa’s cabinet is «flabbergasted» because the Quebec population is refusing his implicit «speak white» tactics!

Activities performed by subcontractors hired by gas companies have not always been exemplary. In May 2010, an enormous landslide in Saint-Jude buried four people.[3] The inhabitants were shaken and they treaded carefully, as if on eggs, fearing that the unstable clays would give way to another landslide. The firm Séismotion requested a «seismic research program», but there was never, ever any mention of dynamiting.[4] Nonetheless, a mere two months after the tragedy, these men set off explosive charges in a wooded area about 1 km away from the landslide site. Did these explosions put the safety of the inhabitants of Saint-Jude in jeopardy? At any rate, citizens were shocked when they felt a second series of tremors under their feet. As in the other two cases of dynamiting that I am aware of, any information disseminated to the community is based on an approach that is anything but truthful. By acting in this manner, can Mr. Savoie really be «flabbergasted» that his industry is perceived as an invader?

The gas industry has descended upon Quebec like a conquistador avidly claiming the nation’s resources without a thought for its population’s welfare. The 1.5 million dollar lawsuit against the municipality of Ristigouche-Sud-Est (total population 168) is yet another example of Gastem’s unacceptable behaviour. He must be «flabbergasted» that the state of New York has just banned fracturing; that is also bad news for Gastem’s stock value!

By acting like a 16th century conqueror, the gas companies have collided head on with plain common sense. The population says NO to the idea of profits for the industry while the population will inherit only the costs and the environmental mess. The BAPE confirms this. The conclusion of these hearings provides an «equitable treatment» of the scientific, economic and social realities of fracking. So, Mr. Savoie, why be «flabbergasted»?

Strange! I thought that business men had to be in touch with reality!

Gérard Montpetit

La Présentation, Qc.

December 22, 2014

1]  Radio journal Radio-Canada

2 ] «www.gastem.ca»

3] For more information, please contact the municipality of Saint-Jude 450-792-3855

4] Ibid

 

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Heavyweight Response to Local Fracking Bans (USA)

New York Times – by Jack Healy – January 3 2015

Photo credit – Luke Sharett

LONGMONT, Colo. — This northern Colorado city vaulted onto the front lines of the battle over oil and gas drilling two years ago, when residents voted to ban hydraulic fracturing from their grassy open spaces and a snow-fed reservoir where anglers catch smallmouth bass.

But these days, Longmont has become a cautionary tale of what can happen when cities decide to confront the oil and gas industry. In an aggressive response to a wave of citizen-led drilling bans, state officials, energy companies and industry groups are taking Longmont and other municipalities to court, forcing local governments into what critics say are expensive, long-shot efforts to defend the measures.

Read the article HERE

 

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The planet’s water supply and Stephen Harper

Vancouver Observer by Warren Bell – Nov 27 2014

This is a startling image.

The big blue watery ball is all the world’s water — every drop. The smaller blue ball is all the world’s fresh water. The tiny blue dot over Arkansas is all the water in all the rivers and lakes on the planet — the source of almost every drop we use on a regular basis.

Read HERE

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Sylvain Roy makes a $1,000 donation to Solidarity Ristigouche

Mr. Sylvain Roy, member for Bonaventure, made a $1,000 donation to our crowdsourcing campaign this week.

From all of the residents of Ristigouche Sud-Est, please accept our sincere thanks Mr. Sylvain!

Credit – Photo by Clément Nadeau – Le Devoir

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Research to benefit a community

University of Ottawa Gazette – Wednesday November 5th, 2014 by Imagine a small municipality of under 200 inhabitants which finds itself embroiled in a legal battle that could bring it to the brink of bankruptcy just because it wanted to protect its fresh water supply.

Continue reading

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Ristigouche: Council of Canadians helps small town fight big oil lawsuit

Media Advisory
September 5, 2014

Ottawa — Ristigouche, a small Quebec town of 168 people, made headlines when Gastem, an oil company, sued it for $1.5 million for prohibiting fracking in the area in order to protect its water source. The entire operating budget of Ristigouche is $275,000.

Today, the Council of Canadians made a donation to Solidarité Ristigouche, the crowdfunding campaign raising money to fight the lawsuit.

“We see many David versus Goliath battles, but this is by far one of the worst cases I’ve seen,” says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “It is absolutely shameful that Gastem is suing this tiny village that is just trying to protect its residents and their drinking water.”

In March 2013, Ristigouche passed a bylaw prohibiting putting into the ground any substance that may contaminate drinking water for human or animal consumption within two kilometres of any artesian or surface well supplying 20 people or more. The province was about to enact similar legislation, but not before Gastem’s application. So in the absence of provincial legislation, many municipalities enacted their own bylaws.

With 92 of the 168 residents asking for the bylaw, the enormous support for the bylaw is not often seen in municipalities.

“This was very popular: an overwhelming majority of residents asked for it. In adopting this bylaw, the municipal council did its duty to protect the common good of the community,” affirmed Ristigouche Mayor François Boulay. “The lawsuit is an attack on the democratic right of our entire community to inhabit and live on the land.”

This is not the first time a company has sued a government over fracking. Lone Pine Resources, an energy company, sued the Canadian government for Quebec’s moratorium on fracking despite fervent community support for a moratorium.

“We are seeing a shocking trend: corporate rights are trumping community rights,” says Emma Lui, the Council of Canadians’ Water Campaigner. “We need governments and our legal systems to protect people, not corporations.”

The village has raised 36 per cent of its goal of $225,000. The Council of Canadians encourages others to make donations: http://solidariteristigouche.ca/

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