Monday, April 28, 2008

New Letter to the Editor re: "Lepreau 2"

Published Monday April 28th, 2008
Appeared in the Saint John Telegraph Journal and the Fredericton Daily Gleaner

Use caution in nuclear decision

The Graham government seems to have its mind set on a second, preferably AECL-designed, nuclear reactor.

Jack Keir is quite bullish on the topic according to newspaper and radio reports. News coverage and independent consultant reports have cautioned that the decision to move forward depends upon the power demands of the New England market.

It seems that this demand is somewhat uncertain now and may get more uncertain in the future. As I was reading and listening to these stories, I have had a growing sense of déjà vu.

Wasn't there something in the recent past about the Lord government and NB Power moving forward without contracts in place - without really assessing the market?

Wasn't the Orimulsion fiasco a key election issue that propelled Graham to power and Keir into the minister's seat at the Department of Energy? Then again, maybe Graham wants to outperform Lord and do things bigger - if not exactly better.


NDP candidate for Fundy Royal

Friday, April 11, 2008

Natural Gas in NB

I sent this to the 3 big Irving papers and the Kings County Record. I don't know if it will be published, but I wanted to share it.

I too share Ms. Whalen’s concerns over the storage of natural gas in salt caverns (Telegraph Journal, 10 April, Letters). Recent radio reports have suggested this storage option, but I wonder if people realize that the idea was publicly discussed by Corridor Resources at a Global Energy Conference held on 24 October 2007 in Miami?

Corridor’s presentation can be found at If you look at page 27, you will notice a suggested gas pipeline from the McCully gas field to a salt cavern near Salt Springs. The gas pipeline seems to follow a similar route to the proposed brine line from the potash mine.

Perhaps more interesting is the proposed gas pipeline connecting Canaport LNG to the same salt cavern.

Are we witnessing a budding partnership between Corridor Resources and a company partially owned by Irving Oil? Could this be the reason two different provincial governments and Fundy Royal’s MP, Rob Moore, have failed to pursue the idea of an Energy Park in the Sussex area?

Suppose Corridor Resources is successful in finding the “several trillion cubic feet of [natural] gas” they suspect is in the Frederick Brook shale deposit near Elgin (Telegraph Journal, 2 April, B1). Can New Brunswickers look forward to producing cleaner power in a gas turbine co-generation plant? Can we get the jobs instead of exporting the gas to Boston and importing either value-added products or energy?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Open Letter to Garth Moore, President of PotashCorp

Suite 500, 122 – 1st Avenue South,
SK S7K 7G3

7 April 2008

Dear Mr. Garth Moore (President, PCS Potash);

I address this Open Letter to you and ask that you share it with the identified company officials below.

As you know, most people in southern New Brunswick welcome the jobs your company has created here and, based on reliable news reports, find ourselves applauding both your company's financial success and generosity for groups such as the youth of Illinois. However we have a local concern – the people near your mine in Penobsquis who have lost access to safe clean water!

The belief exists that, in the absence of the mine, some residents in Penobsquis might still have the reliable water supply they enjoyed in the past.

I remind you of some public statements made recently either by PotashCorp or the government of New Brunswick.

• According to a New Brunswick government press release (20 July 2007), Premier Graham offered the new Potash mine (Picadilly) $35 million in royalty rate reductions over the next 20 years. A worldwide increase in demand for fertilizer to increase food and bio-fuel crop yields means that potash, a key fertilizer component, will increase in price. This means the rate reduction will likely rise in value.
• According to a 15 January 2008 PotashCorp news release, PotashCorp has been named one of Fortune Magazine's "top foreign stocks for 2008." The company points out that its shares have increased 5,600% since it went public in 1989.
• According to PotashCorp's 24 January 2008 news release, the company's net income exceeded $1.1 billion in 2007.
• On 29 January 2008, Jim Jubak, Microsoft Networks investment adviser ("the Web's most widely-read investing writer") reported, "On its [PotashCorp's] Jan 24. conference call, this fertilizer company said – and I have listened to this twice – that no company in the world will be more profitable over the next five years." (emphasis mine)
• PotashCorp issued a press release (29 January 2008) noting its $1.5 million donation to Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook in Illinois.

PotashCorp's business success and its significant contribution to Glenview/Northbrook, Illinois is commendable but it is worrisome that approximately 50 households in the Penobsquis area now find themselves with water problems – tainted wells, empty wells, etc. Almost 8.5 million litres of brine are shipped from the mine each day while these hardworking people require trucks to deliver washing and drinking water to their homes.

There are numerous precedents for large companies seeing a community need to respond with a significant financial contribution to fix the problem. They do this because it is a 'quality of life' challenge for those affected and an opportunity for the company to give back to the community from which springs its wealth.

Having PotashCorp fund the installation of a municipal water system to homes in the affected communities would be just such an act of generosity. People in the Penobsquis and Sussex area who currently have water problems (or may develop them in the future), would be guaranteed access to safe, clean, and reliable drinking water into the future.

I trust that PotashCorp will see the benefits of embracing its corporate responsibility in this matter, as a healthy and supportive community can only enhance the success of your business.


Rob Moir
Economist, NDP Candidate (Fundy Royal)

CC (PotashCorp): William J. Doyle (President & CEO, PotashCorp), John Hewson (Manager, Sustainablity, PotashCorp)

CC (Government of New Brunswick): Premier Shawn Graham, Hon. Roland Haché (Minister of the Environment)

Media Copies: Telegraph Journal, Times & Transcript, Daily Gleaner, Kings County Record, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Rogers Media (News 88.9, News 91.9), CBC Radio, Radio-Canada, Acadia Broadcasting (CHSJ-FM, The Wave FM), 590 CJCW Radio, The Globe and Mail, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Take on the big banks and save money!

If you are tired of paying exorbitant interest rates on your credit card debt, you're not alone. But there is relief. The Fundy Royal NDP wants you to know that you may be able to reduce your credit card interest rate, just by calling them. On the NDP website, you can check out our credit card fee reduction kit and give it a try for yourself!

The following CBC report shows just how well this approach works!

It raises the question: If it is so easy to reduce our interest rates, why are they so high in the first place?

It is for this reason that the NDP has been taking leadership on this issue by advocating for more consumer-friendly banking legislation, a cap on credit card interest rates, and an end to the unfair burden that it places on working families across the country.

- Fundy Royal NDP

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

True costs of uranium mining outweigh benefits

2 April 2008

, New Brunswick

Fundy Royal NDP candidate and economist Rob Moir was among the keynote speakers at Moncton's Public Awareness meeting to discuss the effects of test drilling and uranium mining on our health and ecosystem. Dr. Moir's presentation outlined the overall effects that uranium exploration and mining has on the economy.

Moir toasted the crowd with a glass of Moncton city water, and commenced by saying, "Thank you Moncton for keeping water public, and here's to keeping it free of radioactivity."

Dr. Moir went on to challenge the common notion that this development represents a choice between the environment and the economy. "The reality of the situation," says Moir, "is that this is a choice simply between short-term business profits and the environment." Moir contends that many of the economic costs of such projects are drawn out into the long term, and they persist well after the profits have been realized. Some of these costs include not only environmental damage, but long term health costs, ongoing cleanup efforts, and systemic reductions in property values. Unfortunately, these spillover costs are incurred by working people, businesses, and governments for generations.

Dr. Moir thanks members of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick for the invitation to speak at this function, and is encouraged by the strong turnout at the Capitol Theatre. "It is certainly promising to see so many people interested and involved with this issue. It is critically important at this time for citizens of Fundy Royal, New Brunswick, and Canada as a whole to work together and have our voices heard."

The Fundy Royal NDP invite you to sign the online petition below: