The Minister of sustainable development, the environment, wildlife and parks, Yves-François Blanchet, clearly meant Sunday that it is not very open to the development of the shale gas industry.
“Nothing militates for shale gas, not even the economy”, he argued in a commentary published on the Twitter network. However, the Minister refused to discuss that assertion Monday. His Press Secretary, Catherine Salvail, initially indicated that Mr. Blanchet would be ready to answer the questions of duty. “Unfortunately, the Minister cannot call you. In fact, he does not wish to add comments to this topic for the moment”, she finally answered a few minutes later.
The Minister, who is responsible for the file of shale gas, first published Saturday a link on Twitter, link leading to a text of a U.S. scientific study on the impacts of shale gas. This study, conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that emissions of methane from some wells in Utah are four times larger than expected. This would indicate that shale gas produces as much greenhouse gas greenhouse that the worst of the fossil is coal.
Favourable to the science
Stopped by a user reacting to the fact that the study in question had only one region, the Minister said be “favourable to any approach based on science”. But he immediately added that “nothing militates currently” for the development of non-conventional gas, found in the St. Lawrence lowlands.
The brief comment by Yves – François Blanchet reacted the president and CEO of Questerre Energy, Michael Binnion. “If, as you say, you you give to science, will you wait [strategic environmental assessment] before taking a position?”, dropped the leader of this company active in the gas sector. Ge sample has not continued.
The PQ Government of Pauline Marois is not at its first salvos against the controversial industry. Last fall, the Minister of natural resources, Martine Ouellet, is was also attracted the wrath of the fossil fuel lobby stating that she did not see “the day where there are technologies that will enable a safe operation” of the gas, extracted by hydraulic fracturing.
The president of the Association of oil and gas in Quebec (QOGA), Lucien Bouchard denounced this “unconditional and a priori taboo” of the Minister, then an environmental assessment is underway to determine how to exploit this resource of how ‘responsible ‘.
Forced to react, the Prime Minister had then to be more open to gas companies by asserting that “all impacts” of the industry would be assessed before the Government takes a decision. A few weeks later, after repeated reluctant some, Minister Ouellet said that it is more pronounced on this folder.
Work in progress
The Committee responsible for conducting strategic environmental assessment of the shale gas industry is currently pursuing its work. According to what was told in December to duty, a spokesman of the Ministry of sustainable development, the environment, wildlife and parks, a draft document to be presented in the coming months.
It was not possible to know how the Committee has decided to integrate the oil issue in its work. Last spring, the liberal Minister Pierre Arcand had added this aspect to the mandate of the Committee, but without changing its composition, the deadlines given for the study or the budget made by Quebec. The Committee, set up in the wake of the publication of a report of the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement shall submit its report in the fall of 2013.