POLITICS

New Brunswick appoints commission to study conditions on fracking

03/24/2015 10:24 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT
FREDERICTON - A former chief justice and two academics have been appointed to a commission in New Brunswick to determine whether government-placed conditions can be met before a moratorium on shale gas fracking can be lifted.

Former chief justice Guy Richard, former University of New Brunswick president John McLaughlin and Cheryl Robertson, a former board chairwoman at the New Brunswick Community College have been given up to a year to complete their work.

Energy Minister Donald Arseneault says the moratorium won't be lifted until the government's five conditions can be met.

Those conditions include a plan for regulations, waste water disposal, a process to consult First Nations, a royalty structure and a so-called social licence.

Arseneault says the government can't define what a social licence is, so it is asking the commission to do that.

Previous studies on shale gas development have been launched in New Brunswick, including one released in October 2012 that rejected a moratorium on fracking and called for a phased-in approach.

Arseneault says the commission will be assigned a budget but did not say how much that was when asked by reporters.