Environmentalists turning their backs on Atlantic Canadian prosperity

Radical environmental ideology hurting the region’s economic prospects

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HALIFAX, NS Jul 17, 2015/ Troy Media/ – Canadians everywhere have a critical role to play in keeping Canada’s economy moving forward. But while continuing to abide by our already excellent environmental standards, we must also ensure that radical environmentalists do not impair our chances for future economic growth and prosperity for all Canadians.

By pushing for a total stoppage of hydrocarbon energy projects, such as Alberta and Saskatchewan’s oil sands and Atlantic Canada’s offshore oil and gas production, radical environmentalist activists are willfully ignoring the giant strides that the energy sector – which almost singlehandedly maintained our recent economic prosperity at a time when the rest of the world suffered through a severe economic crisis – has already made in reducing our emissions. The radical environmentalists are also turning their backs on the ingenuity of Canadian workers who are currently at the cutting edge of innovation in preserving our boreal forests, reclaiming former industrial lands, conserving our water, protecting our fauna, reducing emissions and saving energy.

We in the Atlantic Provinces have a chance to learn from mistakes made elsewhere by setting a different tone for energy development conducted responsibly and sustainably. The Atlantic region can gain significantly from further hydrocarbon energy development without sacrificing environmental standards, as exemplified by our offshore development in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Hydraulic well stimulation has also opened the promise of greater prosperity, energy independence, and the generation of cleaner, less expensive fuels to heat our homes and propel our innovative industries and businesses forward, while reducing the need from expensive transportation. Natural gas from offshore projects has already nourished hopes for more jobs for Atlantic Canadians, and brought us closer to keeping more of our young and brightest working right here in our region.

The greater opportunity offered by responsible energy development will also attract more cutting edge businesses and job creators to open offices in the Atlantic Provinces, thereby generating more wealth to pay for our infrastructure and our social programs.

Unfortunately, green extremists and radical environmentalists are promoting an alarmist and unbalanced policy agenda that will hurt Atlantic Canadian workers and endanger economic prosperity right across the country.

The claim by the Council of Canadians about the exaggerated dangers of expanding a pipeline network right along already an existing pipeline or the one from extreme environmentalists that reversing the flow inside a pipeline for Energy East will have devastating environmental consequences are spurious.

The environment, after all, is indifferent to the direction of a pipeline’s flow. And Atlantic Canadian workers are very interested in Energy East because it represents more prosperity and jobs coming to our region.

As many of these future jobs will be union jobs, the call by the Council of Canadians to shut down the oil sands and similar job-creating projects is a sad reflection of its willingness to sacrifice the interests of Atlantic Canadian workers and their families in the name of its radical environmentalist ideology.

At a time when the Canadian economy and Atlantic Canadian families need more prosperity, we should rather rely on the advice of Nova Scotia’s Wheeler Report and the recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report calling on a more reasoned and thoughtful approach to well-stimulation technologies. Energy development policy needs to include clean, more economic, job-producing natural gas.

We must not allow narrow interest groups and their extreme views restrain the Atlantic Provinces and render hollow the promises of greater prosperity the region has been waiting for for so long.

Canada’s environmental standards and conservation policies are the envy of many countries around the world. Energy development conducted responsibly need not be hijacked by extreme activists, however well-intentioned they may be. The future of our children and the preservation of our culture in the Atlantic region deserve more balanced approaches.

Marco Navarro-Genie is the president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (www.AIMS.ca)

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