18 July 2013 FREDERICTON (GNB)
The first members of a scientific advisory council as well as the Science Fellows Program for the New Brunswick Energy Institute were announced today by Energy and Mines Minister Craig Leonard.
“While future members of the scientific advisory council will be named by the institute, it was the role of the provincial government to get this important group together, and it is a pleasure for us to see such talented individuals who will help to bring strong science-based research and dialogue on energy issues,” Leonard said.
The institute will work to ensure credible, evidence-based research and monitoring in support of energy matters as the province develops the energy sector in line with the Energy Blueprint and the Oil and Natural Gas Blueprint. The institute’s first chair is environmental science professor Louis Lapierre.
The other members are:
David Besner, a professional chemical engineer, served as assistant deputy minister of environment and assistant deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs. He played a prominent role in establishing many of New Brunswick’s environmental regulations, particularly those relating to water and air emissions.
Adrian Park, a senior instructor at the University of New Brunswick, has expertise in structural geology and economic geology along with extensive knowledge of the structural history of Caledonian terrain and Appalachian Mountains in southern New Brunswick.
Tom Al, a professor at the University of New Brunswick, has expertise in hydrogeology, ground water chemistry and the transfer of solutes within groundwater.
Fred Metallic, of Listuguj Que., holds a PhD in environmental studies from York University; a master in arts in Canadian and native studies from Trent University; and a bachelor of arts with honours in native studies and sociology, also from Trent University.
Maurice Dusseault, a professor at the University of Waterloo, has extensive experience in resource and shale gas and geo-mechanics, including hydraulic fracturing. He has extensive consulting background relating to drilling; he has authored two textbooks and published 450 articles.
Karen Kidd, a professor and researcher at the University of New Brunswick, is an eco-toxicologist who specializes in the study of chemicals within the natural environment.
Richard Saillant, general director of the institute for research on public policy and public administration at the Université de Moncton, has extensive experience in regional economic development.
These individuals will be responsible for determining the scientific and overall direction of the institute and oversee the conduct of research and monitoring projects in the areas of engineering, environmental sciences, social sciences, economics and industrial health. The provincial government will provide $1 million in 2013-14.
The institute also announced the composition of its Science Fellows Program. The science fellows will be instrumental in helping the scientific advisory committee develop the research agenda for the institute. They will also provide expertise as members of the technical committees of the institute. However, because a goal of the institute is to expose New Brunswickers to how scientists work and think, the science fellows will also help the institute develop a comprehensive, science-based information and education program.
The members are:
Richard Jackson is a principal with Geofirma Engineering of Ottawa, which he joined in 2007 after retiring from Intera Engineering of Austin, Texas. Prior to joining Intera, he was project chief of groundwater contamination at the National Water Research Institute in Burlington, Ont..
John Cherry is director of The University Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Contamination Research. Cherry holds geological engineering degrees and a PhD in hydrogeology.
Donald Siegel of Syracuse University earned a bachelor of science in geology from the University of Rhode Island; a master in science in geology from Pennsylvania State University; and a doctorate in hydrogeology from the University of Minnesota.
David Schneider has been a professor at the Ocean Sciences Centre at Memorial University since 1992. He holds a bachelor of science from Duke University and a PhD from the State University of New York. He is involved in design and analysis for the Terra Nova Environmental Effects Monitoring Program.
Bernard Mayer is a professor of isotope geochemistry in the department of geoscience at the University of Calgary. His applied geochemistry research group uses chemical and isotopic techniques to trace water, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur compounds in surface and subsurface environments.
Rebecca Harrington earned a bachelor of science, a master of science and a PhD in geophysics and space physics from the University of California. She will begin a faculty position at McGill University in the fall.
René Lefebvre is a professor in hydrogeology at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique at its Centre Eau Terre Environnement in Quebec. The institute is a graduate-level research university that is part of the Université du Québec network.
John Molson is an assistant professor in the department of geology and geological engineering at Université Laval and holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair in quantitative hydrogeology of fractured porous media. He is also an adjunct professor in the department of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Waterloo.
Cathy Ryan has been a professor in geoscience at the University of Calgary since 1997. Her main research interests include ground- and surface-water quality (in particular from agricultural and wastewater sources), and understanding and measuring groundwater gases. She has extensive experience in international development.
Lalita Bharadwaj is a toxicologist at the School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan. Her areas of expertise include human and environmental health risk assessment as well as community-based participatory research. Bharadwaj has a diverse academic background, with a bachelor of science in physiology; a master of science in pathology; a PhD in toxicology; and postdoctoral training in respiratory medicine and molecular/cell biology.
Bernard Goldstein is professor emeritus of environmental and occupational health and former dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. He is an elected member of the National Academies of Science Institute of Medicine, where he serves on the Environmental Health Science Research and Training Roundtable.
Ralph Matthews of the University of British Columbia was born and grew up in Newfoundland. He holds a bachelor of arts from Memorial University and a master of arts and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. In addition to his research activities, Matthews has had numerous administrative roles.
In addition to the scientific advisory council and fellows program, the institute will encourage dialogue between various parties and seek the highest level of scientific expertise available.
The institute will tap into the specialized expertise of experienced scientists and researchers in areas relative to energy issues, including First Nations, hydrology, geology, air quality, health, renewable energy and economics.
A round table will be an ongoing forum for representative New Brunswickers to discuss major issues associated with energy development. It will consist of representatives from First Nations, the energy sector, business, the environmental community, rural and urban communities, provincial government departments and the public. Members will be appointed by the institute for terms of up to three years.
The round table will provide a forum for informed debate and discussions about issues and concerns associated with the development of an energy industry in New Brunswick. Working within a consensus-decision model, the round table will provide topics to the scientific advisory council for consideration within the research and monitoring initiatives.
An effects research program will involve research capacity within the public provincial universities and will undertake research and monitoring initiatives identified and approved by the scientific advisory council. Universities and research agencies outside of New Brunswick will also be asked to participate as deemed relevant to specific issues.
The institute has already garnered international attention. Recently, Lapierre was invited to meet with scientists at the United States National Research Council (the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences), which is organizing a workshop in mid-August about issues of governance of unconventional shale gas development. Senior scholar Paul Stern had read Lapierre’s report and was interested in how the institute is being organized to research energy issues.
In addition, Lapierre was recently invited by provincial and territorial energy ministers meeting in Yellowknife, N.W.T., to chair a panel on shale gas and share his thoughts about New Brunswick’s path forward in the industry.
“There are some important projects in our province in the years ahead, including the potential for increased renewable energy research and production, natural gas from shale, and the proposed west-east pipeline project,” said Leonard. “This is the key time to have an energy institute provide scientific support as we move ahead on these and other projects.”