Greg Cook Presentation to the NB Commission on Hydrofracturing Oct 15 2015

 

Excerpt: “These governments may come to be seen as contributing to genocide – as in the UN Security Council Resolution 1820, regarding crimes Against Humanity – particularly respecting the fates of women and children in theatres of war. Whether we like the terminology or not, we are awakening to the fact that we are facing a war against ourselves by endangering our species in a fanatical resolve to increase fossil fuel extraction”

Peoples Lawsuit Plaintiffs speak before NB Commission Hydrofracturing 15 Oct 2015

Greg & PLawsuit Plaintiffs & NB Shale Gas Commission 15 Oct 2015


Greg Cook Presentation

to the New Brunswick Hydro-fracturing Commission, Richibucto, NB October 15 2015

Mr Chair, Sir and Madam Commissioner: I wish to thank you and those who made it possible to speak to ears hired by government.

Greg_Cook_with_friend2

Democracy – This is a special thanks, because the opportunity for this process is more than a decade late. Public forums for consultation by MLAs should have been held at least as early as 2004 – two years before the photo op of Premier Shawn Graham pulling levers to release natural gas into a pipeline.

To understand my passion for democracy, I speak to you as a Canadian CWD (Child of the War Dead). My father made “supreme sacrifice” in a sugar beet field in Holland during the second world war. From an early age I was taught that sacrifice would allow me to live in a democracy.

Speaking of democracy, let’s examine “social license” and/or the concept of “consultation:” 1) I understand it is an industry invention; 2) industry money is put in the hands of non-government individuals; 3) it is then distributed to selected other non-government individuals, who 4) make payments to 5) targeted individuals who attend “information” sessions, or who “monitor” the gas fields (or who never leave their home to monitor anything). This process, as I explored it, is five steps removed from due responsible and representative behaviour we should expect from our government, and it bears no favourable resemblance to reliable polls of public opinion.

I am not living “near” possible well sites at the moment. However, I am resident in Saint John where I am writing a biography of a Canadian novelist, Ernest Buckler, who said: “Home is where you hang your heart” – not hang your hat, but your heart. I am in Kent County today because beginning in 2013 this is where I began hanging my heart much of my time – via the internet, in a nearby cottage, in a tent at the shale gas resistance camp on route 116, or in homes of other resisters.

The Commission asks to hear from people who foresee they might be directly affected by the development in question. There is nothing more direct than seeing family and friends suffering health and/or financial losses owing to ill conceived or badly executed projects, while one contributes to their care and/or the costs of recovering from the health and economic effects that they may be suffered.

We need to understand the reality of what being “near” means. There is no such thing as a “backyard,” in the sense that term is usually employed. When roads and bridges are washed out last month or when water is lost in an area of potash and shale gas extraction, for example, all New Brunswickers (by virtue of their income tax and/or property tax) pay. When the disaster is extensive all Canadians may be required to contribute through federal funding arrangements.

My concern has a sharp point. At this end of the Industrial Revolution engineers are highly experienced and extremely confident. Scientists and medical professionals are highly learned and skilled – just as they were when DDT and Agent Orange had to be banished generations ago. Yet today we are still gambling with pesticides, genetic engineering of our foods, as well as producing and distributing air, water and soil contaminants such as those in forestry and unconventional shale gas extraction – not to mention feeding the elephant in the room that is getting ready to rage and rumble. It is a dark elephant called Climate Change. That elephant is over fed by the fossil fuel industry in extraction, transporting, processing and marketing – not to mention our overuse of its products.

If we have trouble understanding the concept of our common/shared responsibility for environmental rights to clean air, water and soil, then eventually we may have to support legally the indigenous peoples’ moral right to take back the management of public lands never ceded – because we have allowed our governments to forfeit their trusteeship by mismanagement of those lands and resources.

Climate Change – There is no need for me to describe the large number of studies available on the possible and confirmed health hazards related to shale gas development. I trust the commission has found a way of extracting what is needed from those thousands of reports that include in which concern for land and air contamination threats to human and environmental health persist.

But I wish to make brief reference to two of the four recent reports noted in my submission. In addition to worker fatalities where what has been called the “California Gold Rush” of the 21 Century (the “Bakken Boom” in North Dakota) has been killing one person every six weeks since 2006. Studies of social and economic costs in the gas fields have also revealed negatives in the boom-to-bust cycle that appear in the advance and retreat of migratory workers reminiscent of military operations.

More troubling perhaps is the latent threat found in a relatively current medical study, especially as it relates to the health of women and unborn children:

9 October 2015 – “New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health http://www.jhsph.edu/ has revealed that women living near fracking wells are at an increased risk of experiencing high-risk pregnancies and giving birth prematurely.

The study, published in the journal Epidemiology, analysed data from 40 counties in north and central Pennsylvania, where extensive fracking has taken place over recent years. It looked at the records of 9,384 mothers who gave birth to 10,946 babies between January 2009 and January 2013, and correlated it with data on local fracking operations. Women living in the most active areas of fracking were 40 per cent more likely to give birth pre-term, and 30 per cent more likely to have their pregnancy classed as high-risk by an obstetrician.

“‘The growth in the fracking industry has gotten way out ahead of our ability to assess what the environmental and, just as importantly, public health impacts are,’ said lead author Brian S. Schwartz, a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School….”

Read more: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/energy/news/fracking-wells-linked-to-high-risk-pregnancies/1021198.article#ixzz3oEIi8pVw

Genocide – In as much as state conflicts resulting in military action, particularly those conflicts that for market share and capital gains destabilize countries rich in fossil fuel resources, and in as much as nations and their constituent governments sponsor fossil fuel extraction through subsidies and licenses, these governments may come to be seen as contributing to genocide – as in the UN Security Council Resolution 1820, regarding crimes Against Humanity – particularly respecting the fates of women and children in theatres of war. Whether we like the terminology or not, we are awakening to the fact that we are facing a war against ourselves by endangering our species in a fanatical resolve to increase fossil fuel extraction.

Our moral dilemma is: 1) will we continue to permit unknown toxins to be pumped with extreme pressure underground through water tables, where these toxins mix in cocktails with unknown results, and 2) where experience reveals repeated failures in the engineering of the new processes, accidents in the transportation of the chemicals to the drilling sites – as well as accidents in the shipment and storage of the waste flow back from drilling sites – all of this gambling at the expense of developing of renewable energy resources instead? Without a change of course the certain calamity called Climate Change is predicted to bring more expense than the cost of standing down from this “gold rush” – or what may be called these death throes of the fossil fuel industry.

We are weighing what sounds like an addictive behaviour in which there is no sure “system” or “fix,” except a program of withdrawal, abstinence and recovery. The moral question about our gamble that I pose speaks the common sense notion of insanity, if not of what may eventually be considered criminal behaviour. High national and/or international courts may have to rule to restrain a Climate Change disaster for our health and our planet that is tantamount to self-induced genocide.

Thank you and good luck,

Greg Cook, Saint John, New Brunswick

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Notes:

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health < http://jech.bmj.com/> is a leading international journal devoted to publication of original research and reviews covering applied, methodological and theoretical issues with emphasis on studies using multidisciplinary or integrative approaches. The journal aims to improve epidemiological knowledge and ultimately health worldwide. JECH is the official journal of the Society for Social Medicine < http://socsocmed.org.uk/ >.

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Confirmed: California Aquifers Contaminated With Billions Of Gallons of Fracking Wastewater By Mike Gaworecki • Tuesday, October 7, 2014 – 16:05

http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/10/07/central-california-aquifers-contaminated-billions-gallons-fracking-wastewater

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Hospitalization Rates Jump Near ‘Fracking’ Sites: Study

Researchers suggest exposure to toxins, high noise levels may help explain link

SOURCE: University of Pennsylvania, news release, July 15, 2015

http://consumer.healthday.com/environmental-health-information-12/environment-health-news-233/hospitalization-rates-jump-near-fracking-sites-study-701340.html

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Compendium Of Scientific, Medical, And Media Findings Demonstrating Risks And Harms Of Fracking (Unconventional Gas And Oil Extraction)

October 14, 2015 – Health experts and scientific researchers with Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility held a telepresser today to release the third edition of a compilation – a Compendium – of the scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking. This edition of our report also compiles and concisely summarizes the evidence pertaining to the impacts of natural gas infrastructure, including transmission pipelines and compressor stations.

Download the Compendium: PSE Healthy Energy. http://www.psehealthyenergy.org/site/view/1180

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READ more Peoples Lawsuit Plaintiffs Statements

to New Brunswick Commission on Hydrofracturing Oct 2015

See also: Peoples Lawsuit Related Media Coverage