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Former N.B. premier Frank McKenna (CBC)

Former premier Frank McKenna says he doesn't think New Brunswick should close the door on shale gas development since many jurisdictions around the world have managed to develop the industry.

McKenna was in Fredericton Tuesday to launch the Frank McKenna Centre for Communications and Public Policy at St. Thomas University.

The former Liberal premier told reporters there's no reason New Brunswick can't have a safe shale gas industry.

"We shouldn't think that we're breaking the mold here. We should look at the great examples of where that's turned out to be an extraordinarily successful part of an industrial base," said McKenna.

His position is not the same as that held by the political party McKenna used to lead.

The provincial Liberals, environmental groups, the New Brunswick College of Family Physicians and some municipal governments have called for a moratorium on shale gas activities in the province.

Four scientists at the University of New Brunswick also recently raised concerns about the amount of fresh water required for hydro-fracking and the treatment needed for wastewater.