06/06/2012 08:07 EDT | Updated 08/06/2012 05:12 EDT

New Brunswick premier prepares for upcoming hearings on the shale gas industry

MONCTON, N.B. - As the New Brunswick government prepares for a round of public meetings on the shale gas industry, Premier David Alward says the industry will be held accountable for its actions.

In a speech Tuesday in Moncton, the premier said the last time there was fracking in New Brunswick was in the fall of 2010.

He says there may be no fracking at all this year.

Fracking refers to the process of hydraulic fracturing, which involves the injection of pressurized water and chemicals into the ground to release natural gas.

Critics say the process poses a risk to the environment but the industry says it is safe and sustainable.

The first public meeting will be held today in Chipman.

(News 91.9)

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the meeting was Thursday.