Jean Charest

Sun, 2011-04-10 16:46TJ Scolnick
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Strike Three for Shale Gas Fracking In Québec, Is A Moratorium Imminent?

Shale Gas: No Thank You!

Once again, Québec’s government is under fire for shoddy management of its shale gas (gaz de schiste in French) reserves.

Last week, as part of Auditor General’s 2010-2011 report to the Québec National Assembly, Sustainable Development Commissioner Jean Cinq-Mars presented a scathing audit of provincial management of shale gas, “Government Management of Shale Gas Exploration and Production” [PDF].

Cinq-Mars assessed whether or not the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife (Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, MRNF) and the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks (Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs, MDDEP) are taking the necessary precautions to ensure that shale gas resources are developed according to the Sustainable Development Act and related principles, as well as public interest, government objectives and regional development priorities.

Shale gas development in the province fails on all measures in the audit, demonstrating just how poorly the government is overseeing the gas industry.

Mon, 2011-03-14 16:30TJ Scolnick
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Québec’s Oil And Gas Industry Responds To BAPE Report On Shale Gas And Fracking Ban

On Monday, Québec’s oil and gas industry responded to the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) report made public last week. Lucien Bouchard, former Québec Premier turned spokesman for the Québec Oil and Gas Association addressed the media for the first time, acknowledging that the industry’s “new” fracking techniques deserve further scrutiny in order to avoid “mishaps” such as the 19 gas wells that have recently leaked pollution into Quebec’s air and water.

The BAPE commission rightly called for an extensive environmental impact assessment of the effects that shale gas drilling has on air and water quality. While the BAPE did not call for a shale drilling moratorium, Pierre Arcand, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks did, however, ban the use of hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) for at least a year and a half, and up to 30 months until this destructive technique can be studied further.

Tue, 2011-03-08 13:23TJ Scolnick
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BREAKING: Quebec BAPE Shale Gas Study Verdict Is In: Drill Baby Drill, But No Fracking For Now

After keeping Québec’s much anticipated Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) shale gas development study under wraps for more than a week, Pierre Arcand, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks just released the BAPE’s findings to the public. Regrettably, shale gas in the province is receiving a green light or in French “un feu vert” (a green fire translated literally). Ironically, this is exactly what the BAPE’s recommendation will lead to as shale gas expansion means that many of the province’s environmental goals will go up in smoke. For now, the controversial drilling method of hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) will be halted until a strategic  environmental impact assessment can be conducted.

All in all, the BAPE’s recommendation to proceed is a major blow to environmental and health advocates calling on the Québec Liberal government to heed the many public safety and environmental risks which surround shale gas drilling and fracking.

Mon, 2011-03-07 12:37TJ Scolnick
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New Scientific Community Will Hold Québec Government Accountable On Shale Gas

While Québecers anxiously wait for Pierre Arcand, Quebec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks to publicly release the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) study on the future of shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) in the province, a group of more than 100 researchers and scientists known as the Collectif scientifique sur la question du gaz de schiste au Québec has declared that they will serve a permanent watchdog function over the shale industry. Additionally, they will promote accountability and transparency by government on its shale gas policies and will intensively study and communicate any shortfalls in the BAPE’s findings to the public.

The Collectif scientifique correctly insists that not enough is known about shale gas drilling and fracking, and describes the shale industry’s tactics as “invasive.” Given the controversies surrounding shale gas and fracking, this newly formed scientific community is calling for an immediate moratorium on drilling until Premier Jean Charest and his Liberal government produce a credible and realistic energy policy focusing on energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy and not dirty fossil fuels like gas.

Tue, 2011-03-01 10:05TJ Scolnick
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Shale Gas and Fracking In Québec Under Intense Scrutiny

Late last summer, Québec’s Liberal government announced a provincial study and a series of public hearings on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural gas industry practice under increasingly intense review following a bombshell New York Times investigation into fracking threats to drinking water and public health.

This week, the commission that the Quebec government set up to review fracking and shale development, called the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), submitted its far-reaching report on the future of shale gas development in Québec, but it won’t be available for public review until Pierre Arcand, Quebec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, releases it, which could be anytime within the next 60 days.

Mon, 2009-09-21 19:41Richard Littlemore
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Who's that guy standing next to Wolverine?

Absent a Captain Canuck, Quebec’s Jean Charest Takes the Stage

On a day when the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chage was quoted dismissing Canada as “not at the table” in climate negotiatons, Quebec Premier Jean Charest took to the stage at Climate Week in New York.

Flanking actor Hugh Jackman (with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair standing on the other side), Charest looked both oddly out of place - and right in his element.

The latter part is understandable. He has been on this file from the beginning. He attended the Rio summit in 1992 as Canada’s Environment Minister. As the Quebec Premier since 2003, he has been a national leader in setting reasonably progressive climate policy.

On Monday, he stressed the importance of that action, in Canada and around the world, calling for leadership and engagement from what he characterized as “sub-national states.”

Sat, 2008-04-05 20:59Richard Littlemore
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Training Day: Al Gore offers "The Truth" - slide by slide

“We have passed the tipping point, but I don’t believe that we have passed the point of no return.”

That was Al Gore Saturday, trying to reassure the 250 volunteers who had come to Montreal to learn to spread The Inconvenient Truth.

Saturday was the serious work day at The Climate Change-Canada’s first training session, with Al Gore leading a diverse and clearly committed group of volunteers through his Academy Award-winning presentation, slide by slide.

Fri, 2008-04-04 21:19Richard Littlemore
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The Inconvenient Truthteller: Al Gore captivates Montreal

Al Gore strode into Montreal Friday evening and the city embraced him as one of its own. In fact, I can’t quite imagine that he gets quite this kind of welcome anywhere else.

First of all, his visit was sponsored by La Presse, which guaranteed a pretty compelling advance. And if the front page coverage wasn’t impressive enough, the full-colour special section on climate change would have to turn your head.

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