BUSINESS

New Brunswick's Fracking Ban Coming Into Force

12/18/2014 10:18 EST | Updated 02/17/2015 05:59 EST
MLADEN ANTONOV via Getty Images
With AFP Story by Veronique DUPONT: US-Energy-Gas-Environment Jeff Boggs, responsible for the drilling at Consol Energy poses infront of one of the company's Horizontal Gas Drilling Rigs exploring the Marcellus Shale outside the town of Waynesburg, PA on April 13, 2012. It is estimated that more than 500 trillion cubic feet of shale gas is contained in this stretch of rock that runs through parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia. Shale gas is natural gas stored deep underground in fine-grained sedimentary rocks. It can be extracted using a process known as hydraulic fracturing – or 'fracking' – which involves drilling long horizontal wells in shale rocks more than a kilometre below the surface. Massive quantities of water, sand and chemicals are pumped into the wells at high pressure. This opens up fissures in the shale, which are held open by the sand, enabling the trapped gas to escape to the surface for collection. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government is introducing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing that the premier says won't be lifted until five conditions are met.

Those conditions include a process to consult with First Nations, a plan for wastewater disposal and credible information about the impacts fracking has on health, water and the environment, Brian Gallant said Thursday.

"We have been clear from Day One that we will impose a moratorium until risks to the environment, health and water are understood," Gallant told a news conference in Fredericton.

"We believe these conditions to be very reasonable.

Gallant said he also wants the development of a royalty structure and a "social licence" ensuring that the public accepts fracking before the moratorium would be removed, though he acknowledged that has yet to be defined.

He said his government supports job creation but added that it needs to be done in a diversified and sustainable way.

"We're not interested in putting all of our eggs in a single basket," he said.

A number of companies are currently exploring for shale gas in the province and Corridor Resources recently fracked wells in the Penobsquis area that are used to supply gas to the nearby Potash Corp. mine.

Gallant said such operations would be allowed to continue under the legislation, as long as they don't rely on fracking.

"We'll certainly also always listen to businesses that may have concerns and try to mitigate some of the impacts if they believe (them) to be negative on their operations," he said.

Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador have also passed moratoriums on fracking, though they vary in scope.

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