Government introduces moratorium on hydraulic fracturing

From left: Premier Brian Gallant and Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault.

The provincial government has introduced a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the province, following through on its commitment to New Brunswickers.

“Creating jobs is our government’s top priority but we need to do this in a responsible and sustainable way. Today our government is bringing forward legislation to proceed with a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing activity in New Brunswick, as we committed to doing in Moving New Brunswick Forward,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “We have been clear from day one that we will impose a moratorium until risks to the environment, health and water are understood.”

Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault will introduce an amendment to the Oil and Natural Gas Act that will allow government to prohibit hydraulic fracturing activity. The moratorium will not be lifted unless more information is gathered and certain conditions are addressed.

“Our conditions focus on five key areas where more information needs to be gathered and more work needs to be done,” said Gallant. “The moratorium will not be lifted unless we are satisfied that these conditions have been met.”

Gallant outlined the following conditions. The moratorium will not be lifted unless there is:

·        A social license in place;

·        Clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on our health, environment and water, allowing us to develop country-leading regulatory regime with sufficient enforcement capabilities;

·        A plan that mitigates the impacts on our public infrastructure and that addresses issues such as waste water disposal;

·        A process in place to respect our obligations under the duty to consult with First Nations;

·        A mechanism in place to ensure that benefits are maximized for New Brunswickers, including the development of a proper royalty structure.

“We are not interested in putting all our eggs in a single basket, so we are actively and diligently pursuing several job creation opportunities for our province,” said Arseneault. “We will continue to take a safe and responsible approach to energy and natural resources opportunities while diversifying New Brunswick’s economy.”

Gallant also reiterated the government’s commitment to natural resource development and energy projects, such as the Energy East Pipeline, the conversion of the Canaport LNG terminal and the Sisson mine.

“These projects have great potential to move the province forward and ensure a strong economic future,” added Gallant. “These projects will advance the provincial government’s key priority of job creation.

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