Shale gas is to New Brunswick today what the Free Trade Agreement with the United States was to Canada a quarter century ago: a deeply controversial, highly polarizing issue over which tempers quickly flare up. As was the case with the free trade debate, the public discourse on shale gas has degenerated into a war of words, with most citizens left in the middle with very little information they can trust to secure a better understanding of what is at stake.
This study aims to fill part of the wide information gap on shale gas in New Brunswick. While substantial knowledge has been built in recent years on the impact — both positive and negative — of shale gas on communities where it is actively being exploited, much less is available for New Brunswick. Yet, as this volume makes clear, no two shales are alike. In order to understand the economic, environmental, social, and other consequences of shale gas, we cannot rely exclusively on other jursisdictions: we also need to investigate New Brunswick's specific context. Virtually all of the contributors to this study — well-established, credible authorities in their respective fields — are associated with New Brunswick universities in one way or another.