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Higgs champions NB shale gas development as a better climate plan than carbon pricing

OTTAWA — New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says his province’s alternative to the federal carbon price will be to ship liquid natural gas to Europe as an alternative to coal.

Higgs says he has a business case to do it, although there’s just one problem: he doesn’t currently have any gas to send.

Higgs is appearing virtually in front of a House of Commons committee, where Conservatives invited Higgs and his Alberta and Saskatchewan counterparts to testify about their dislike of the carbon price.

They are among seven premiers who recently called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cancel the carbon price increase planned for April 1.

Trudeau this week wrote to those premiers inviting them to suggest alternatives to the federal carbon price that would achieve the same results.

Higgs has long championed the development of shale gas in New Brunswick and he says the carbon price is barely going to make a dent in world emissions as long as China continues to build coal plants.

He says Canada’s emissions are a drop in the bucket of global emissions and that shipping cleaner fuels overseas to replace coal would be a more effective strategy.

“In Canada we’re thinking in a bubble,” said Higgs. “I propose to make a difference worldwide.”

A Spanish company last year walked away from a proposal to build a natural gas export terminal in Saint John, citing the high costs of shipping gas, which would have to be sent by pipelines from Western Canada. 

Former Liberal Premier Brian Gallant legislated a moratorium on hydraulic fracking in New Brunswick in 2014. That decision came after violent anti-fracking protests rocked New Brunswick in 2013.

Fracking is a process that pumps large volumes of water and chemicals underground to break apart layers of rock and release pockets of gas trapped inside.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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