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Marcel White’s Frackback Page

Marcel White’s Frackback Page

Marcel White:  "There are so many better options out there for our job and energy needs"

Marcel White: “There are so many better options out there for our job and energy needs”

Why I Became Part of the Peoples Lawsuit


I became part of this lawsuit because I have to do something to stop industry from destroying my home province. So speaking from my own experience, like most New Brunswick youth I went to Alberta for work, spending 4 years out there from 2008 to 2012. I was working warehouses at first and then working for a permaculture construction company. I saw a lot of things out there that industry does, and the kinds of things people don’t talk about, especially for tourism’s sake.


On the environment, a lot can be said. But one of the first things you notice in Alberta is the miles of pipelines, buried or not, going from every well to a compressor station or pump station. Even just the surveying/seismic testing they do in Alberta had somewhere around 4 million kilometers of cutlines, whole strips of forest cut in straight lines for miles. Aside from making the forests an ugly sight, I learned later that this ended up making deer populations decline because wolves had a much easier time hunting them.


On pollution, I never saw it much when I was in Edmonton aside from the smell of the refineries the city is downwind from, but moving outside of the big city I sure could see the night sky. It was filled with a red glow on Friday and Saturday nights, when the inspectors weren’t around. The fire coming off these flare stacks is intense and deafening when you are close up. Then I had the chance to talk to an old foreman on site working at the time for one of the oilfield companies when they were doing a frack job next to where I lived by Edson, which took nearly a month of 24/7 heavy truck traffic. He didn’t know exactly what was coming off those flare stacks after they were done pumping, because there was no monitoring, but he did know there was at least 17 compounds coming off it that were not good for your health as he had seen over the years with his co-workers.


Even my own health has been affected from living there. Aside from my 2 years in Edmonton, I lived on an acreage near Edson where 3 wells would flare regularly within a kilometer of my home. When I went to Alberta I had no allergies and my eyes were clear of any veins. Today, my eyes have permanent veins coming in from the sides (which indicates lung damage), I have a pretty harsh reaction to anything synthetic containing benzene (like febreeze), and I have trouble with my sense of smell and taste compared to when I lived in New Brunswick and Newfoundland. I’m sure it’s much worse for the people working right under these wells or living their whole lives surrounded by these things, where it has been shown that children living in the areas of flaring and refineries tend to score lower on provincial tests.


On the sheer recklessness of the industry, I remember when a crew came onto our land by Edson. They were doing seismic testing using explosives. Aside from our well water becoming very grainy for a couple weeks, the next thing I noticed was where they chose to park their pickup truck loaded with dynamite or whatever they were using as explosives. It was right on a half-blind corner at the bottom of a hill, and on a road with plenty of heavy truck traffic. So all it would take is one of those tankers or logging trucks to come down that hill too fast and then we’d have a crater, hopefully no fracking wastewater, and at least one body left behind. That is just the recklessness on the ground level I saw first-hand, never mind the spills from shoddy pipeline work, well pad explosions, etc.

On the administrative level, when looking at Alberta’s regulatory body on oil and gas development, anybody could spend a few minutes on the internet searching through the bios of everyone on the board. The vast majority of the chairs have been ex-oil company executives, the rest have very little technical knowledge of oil and gas and act more as a PR firm, or are receiving pensions/severance packages from an oil company. When they do employ someone with a scientific background, they usually fit into that last category. So can they really be trusted to not work for corporate interests? From their track record in solving disputes between landowners and companies, it was certainly weighted towards the companies. So I think we have our answer.


Spinning off from oil and gas pollution, the province has quite a few secrets when it comes to oilfield workers;  drug abuse is rampant among the camps and truck drivers. Clean urine is quite a hot commodity among the workers, and I was asked regularly to sell mine to my roomies and their friends. Lets just say Fort Mac has definitely earned it’s nickname from locals: “Fort Crack.”


So with that, after seeing what I saw in Alberta, I just do not want any of it to come to New Brunswick. Even for the sake of jobs, which I will talk more on later, it’s just not worth it to our physical and mental health, or our beautiful lands and waters, when there are so many better options out there for our job and energy needs.




Recommended reading:

Letter of June 30, 2014 from Dr. Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP, Medical Director for National & Global Affairs, Director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health & the Environment, Child Health Advocacy Institute, Children’s National Health System & Professor of Pediatrics and of Environmental & Occupational Health, George Washington University, Washington, DC
to: E. Christopher Abruzzo, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection –  


Alberta Energy Regulator Board – Board member and hearing commissioner biographies (confirmed June 12, 2013)  http://energy.alberta.ca/Initiatives/3489.asp

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