09/30/2014 10:09 EDT | Updated 11/30/2014 05:59 EST

Nova Scotia Fracking Ban To Be Indefinite

MCT via Getty Images
Fracking rigs like this one in Butler County, Penn., dot the landscape across western Pennsylvania, June 19, 2013. Fracking, the controversial drilling technique that is driving America's energy boom, has been around for decades. But it was only in the last decade that the process of blasting underground rocks with water and chemicals was refined enough to deliver a long sought oil and gas bounty and stir a furious debate over its health and environmental consequences. (Jason Cohn/MCT via Getty Images)

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government introduced legislation today that would place an indefinite moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing for onshore oil and gas from shale deposits.

But the legislation would provide an exemption for fracking used for testing and research purposes.

Energy Minister Andrew Younger says the amendments to the Petroleum Resources Act will not provide a loophole for the shale gas industry.

Younger, who first announced the government's plans to implement a fracking moratorium nearly a month ago, says the legislation makes it clear that commercial fracking will not be allowed without a public debate in the legislature.

He says the government plans to draft regulations to define what high-volume fracking is and describe the process the government will follow before reconsidering the moratorium.

The minister says the government won't consider lifting the ban until the it is convinced fracking can be done safely under a set of stringent new rules and regulations.

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