The New Brunswick government has appointed a commission to study hydraulic fracturing and report back to cabinet within one year on whether the government's conditions for shale gas development can be met.

Donald Arseneault

Energy Minister Donald Arseneault says it is "responsible and prudent" for the government to do its due diligence and get more information about hydraulic fracturing. (CBC)

Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault says the government has a responsibility to consider the controversial method of natural gas extraction as a possible way to create jobs.

The commission will be led by Guy Richard, former chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench.

Former UNB president John McLaughlin and former NBCC board chair Cheryl Robertson will serve as deputy commissioners.

The Gallant government placed a moratorium on fracking in December 2014.

The Liberals have said the current moratorium will only be lifted if New Brunswickers at large approve, if there is clear and credible information about the impacts of fracking, if there's a plan to mitigate the impacts on public infrastructure and deal with waste water, if there is a process to consult with First Nations, and if there is a way to maximize the local benefits, such as royalties.

Hydraulic-fracturing is a method of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations beneath the earth's surface.

It involves injecting a mixture of sand, chemicals, and water or some other subtance into the earth under high pressure to fracture the rock and capture natural gas that is otherwise not attainable.

Opponents fear the process could endanger the groundwater supply and potentially have other harmful environmental effects.