10/04/2011 05:29 EDT | Updated 12/04/2011 05:12 EST

N.B. premier says province will educate, consult public on shale gas exploration

MONCTON, N.B. - New Brunswick Premier David Alward says he wants people in the province to be able to make an informed decision when it comes to shale gas exploration.

Alward says he believes the more people know about shale gas and the benefits it could bring to the province, the more they'll be in favour of it.

The premier has announced a consultation process he says is designed to educate the public.

In addition to town hall sessions to be held across the province in the coming weeks, Alward says a government website has been set up to provide information on the use of hydro-fracturing, or fracking to recover natural gas.

Alward says he understands and shares many of the concerns New Brunswickers have expressed over the effects of fracking on the environment.

He says he's committed to ensuring government regulations for exploration will address those issues.

(News 91-9)