New Brunswick Premier-designate Brian Gallant says he will follow through on his party’s plan to institute a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, but that has people in the oil and gas industry concerned.
Nova Scotia and Quebec have already instituted fracking bans.
The ban is posing a headache for the provincial government in Quebec where an American company, Lone Pine Resources, is demanding $250 million in compensation.
Gallant says he doesn’t know enough about the Quebec case to comment. When asked if New Brunswick was prepared for similar legal action, Gallant was vague.
“Well, it's a speculative question,” he said.
“So, what I can tell you is that our resolve to have a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing is still there. We still have preoccupations like many New Brunswickers when it comes to hydraulic fracturing and the risks that it can pose to our water, our environment and our health.”
Oil and gas industry speaks out
Sheri Somerville with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers would like to sit down with the incoming premier to discuss the facts.
“We want to sit down, provide science-based and fact-based information to Premier-[designate] Gallant so he can make a decision on how to move forward with the industry in New Brunswick,” she said.
Oil and gas company Corridor Resources has been in New Brunswick since 1995.
It has drilled 43 wells in the Penobsquis and Elgin areas, built a natural gas processing plant and invested over $500 million.
During the election campaign, Corridor's president expressed concerns over the future of shale gas development by sending a three-page letter to the party leaders talking about how the industry is safe.
The letter also noted the company plans to spend $25 million in New Brunswick this year.
When asked about what was in store for the future now that Gallant will move ahead with a moratorium, Corridor had a short response.
“We will not be commenting on the election outcome except to say that Corridor looks forward to working with the next government,” said spokesperson Kathy Purcell.
Gallant says that he won’t change his position unless he is satisfied with the scientific literature.
An earlier version of this story referred to Brian Gallant as the premier-elect. He should actually be called the premier-designate.Sep 24, 2014 11:42 PM AT