Sept. 11, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Energy and energy efficiency will be key themes at this year's meeting of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG-ECP) taking place in Saint John.
The agenda will also include discussions on the green economy and climate change. Premier Shawn Graham and Maine Governor John Baldacci will be co-chairing the meetings.
"It is appropriate that energy will be a major topic of discussion during this year's conference, considering it will be held in Saint John, where we are building a world-class energy hub," said Graham. "During the upcoming conference we will be stressing the importance of secure, reliable and cost-effective energy for our region while recognizing our climate change objectives."
The energy discussions will address issues related to the expansion of electricity markets, including new investment approaches and contracting mechanisms from a regional perspective.
Energy Minister Jack Keir acknowledged that co-operation with other jurisdictions, particularly on the energy file, would be important for New Brunswick to achieve self-sufficiency.
"NEG-ECP provides a terrific forum to showcase our energy hub to potential investors," said Keir. "The New Brunswick energy sector is on the move, and the Saint John community is flourishing. I am looking forward to exploring further opportunities for growth with delegates from various Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions."
Conference presenters from New Brunswick include Kenneth Irving of Fort Reliance, and Elizabeth Weir of Efficiency New Brunswick, speaking about New Brunswick's unique approach in offering all-fuels energy efficiency programs. They, along with other regional presenters, will set the stage for discussions regarding next steps in the energy field.
Additional conference topics include:
The green economy and climate change
Due to a combination of geographic and climatic patterns, the northeast region of North America has historically been the recipient of air-borne pollutants produced by human activity across the continent. In the face of this challenge, NEG-ECP has demonstrated leadership in attempting to reduce the causes and influences of climate change within the region. Federal environmental policy initiatives are anticipated in both Canada and the U.S. The direction taken by national governments will have a significant impact on the ability of states and provinces to develop policies to reduce overall levels of greenhouse-gas emissions.
The premiers and governors will hear from a group that manages the International Emergency Management Compact, which was developed in 1998 to ensure a swift response when reacting to the safety, care and welfare of the public in times of disaster. The success of this type of collaboration will be examined in the context of a health-related event such as the H1N1 flu virus.
Business New Brunswick Minister Victor Boudreau is hosting Building for the Future, a parallel conference for business, on sustainable and green building practices in Canada and the United States. The business-to-business session will take place concurrently with the NEG-ECP conference at the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre, with the aim of facilitating trade between companies in the eastern Canadian provinces and the New England states. The conference hopes to provide companies in these jurisdictions with access to some of the most well-recognized players in the green building market.
A full agenda and media accreditation may be found online.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Brendan Langille, communications, Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, 506-444-4594; Bonnie Doyle Creber, communications, Department of Energy, 506-639-2860.