Monday, January 29, 2007

Premier Graham - an Environmental Convert ... Not!

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On Jan. 29, 2007, Premier Graham claimed in a CBC interview that there's no conflict with his new-found environmental streak and his support for a second oil refinery. He argued that we are only meeting the growing demand for energy in New Brunswick. ...

With all due respect to Premier Graham, I must heartily disagree with his statement that while there are environmental effects to a second refinery, these effects must be balanced with the energy demands of New Brunswickers.

It is not at all clear to me that New Brunswick energy demand has grown at a rate that exceeds our productive capacity. The natural gas from the LNG plant will largely be shipped to the US Northeast. The natural gas from our own McCully Field outside of Sussex is being shipped to the US Northeast. The International Power Line from Point Lepreau will transport power to the US Northeast. The Irving Oil website claims that 58% of the refined product from the existing refinery is shipped to the US Northeast.

New Brunswick already exports all this power to the energy-hungry US Northeast because neither New Brunswickers nor Atlantic Canadians can use it all. So how is it that a second greenhouse gas-producing oil refinery can help meet the growing energy demands of New Brunswickers when we already produce more than we need?

In my opinion, Premier Graham's argument is based on spin rather than fact. The reality is, business and the government in New Brunswick are willing to trade environmental quality for short term profit. As long as New Brunswickers support such a tradeoff, New Brunswick will continue to be America's solution to its NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) problem.

Rob Moir

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