05/24/2012 07:22 EDT | Updated 07/24/2012 05:12 EDT

New Brunswick to hold eight public meetings in June on proposed shale gas rules

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government has appointed University of Moncton biologist Louis LaPierre to lead a series of public meetings next month on its proposed shale gas regulations.

Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup says the meetings, to be held in eight communities, will provide an opportunity for an in-depth discussion of the proposed measures.

The meetings will begin June 6 in Chipman and conclude June 25 in Blackville.

The province says it will accept written comments from the public until July 18.

The government released a discussion paper last week containing 116 recommendations that addressed a number of issues including well design, royalties and protection of water supplies.

The paper also recommended fines as high as $1 million for companies that violate resource development rules.