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New Brunswick government won’t lift fracking moratorium until conditions met: report


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March 29, 2016 by Canadian Plastics

The province of New Brunswick won’t lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until all the government’s conditions are met, New Brunswick’s energy and mines minister says.

As reported by The Canadian Press, energy and mines minister Donald Arseneault says the government is reviewing the report of a shale gas review committee that took almost a year to study the issue.

“At the same time, our principles don’t change,” The Canadian Press reported Arseneault as saying. “We set out five conditions out there and said we’re not going to move on hydraulic fracturing unless those five conditions are met.”

The government set out five conditions when it imposed the moratorium in December 2014, including a plan for regulations, waste-water disposal, a process to consult First Nations, a royalty structure and a so-called social licence.

Arseneault said those conditions must be addressed before the moratorium can be lifted.

Arseneault was responding to a recent request by a collection of business groups to lift the moratorium. “When you look at the unemployment levels being as high as they are – almost 10 per cent unemployment in New Brunswick – certainly there are a lot of families in New Brunswick who could use the jobs at a time when our economy is really in a significant slump,” said Joel Richardson, vice president of the New Brunswick division of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. Richardson said natural gas development has been without incident in New Brunswick since the early 1990s.

Hydraulic fracturing – also called fracking – is the practice of sending superpressurized water down wellbores to fracture deep-bed rock formations and release natural gas from previously uneconomic deposits trapped deep underground in isolated pockets within sedimentary rock known as shale. The fracking boom has the potential to increase natural gas supplies and allow increased domestic production of resins such as polyethylene, but the process has been banned in the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and in New York State.