The provincial government's shale gas study tour found supporters of the controversial industry during a public meeting in Blackville on Monday.
About 100 people turned out in Blackville for the latest in the provincial government's public meetings on the proposed regulations for the shale gas industry.
SWN Resources Canada controls several exploration leases in the Blackville area.
Louis Lapierre, a professor emeritus of biology at the University of Moncton, who is leading the public sessions for the provincial government, said it was the first time in seven meetings that he heard people speak in favour of developing the industry.
Bradley Pond was among the supporters of a potential shale gas industry at the meeting. Pond said he would like to see jobs come to rural New Brunswick.
'Don't think the entire province is against shale gas because for every anti-fracking protester who's being loud, there are 10 supporters of shale gas who are remaining silent.'— Bradley Pond
He also said he’s not alone in supporting the industry.
"People in the Miramichi want to live in the beautiful area … work here, prosper here and raise a family here," Pond said.
"Don't think the entire province is against shale gas because for every anti-fracking protester who's being loud, there are 10 supporters of shale gas who are remaining silent."
Premier David Alward’s Progressive Conservative government has faced significant opposition to shale gas exploration in New Brunswick in the last year.
Environment Minister Bruce Fitch and Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup released a new slate of regulatory changes in May that are designed to protect the environment if the shale gas industry comes to the province.
The proposed changes would allow the provincial government and communities to collect a bigger share of royalties from any shale gas extracted from the ground.
There are 116 different changes to the regulatory framework that oversees the oil and gas industry. The provincial government is also promising to impose higher fines on companies that break the new rules.
Opponents say jobs are limited
Hydro-fracking is a process where exploration companies inject a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground, creating cracks in shale rock formations. That process allows companies to extract natural gas from areas that would otherwise go untapped.
Opponents to the shale gas industry say the hydro-fracking process can cause water and air pollution.
At a previous meeting, the opponents found an ally in former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Tony Huntjens.
Huntjens called hydro-fracking a "dangerous experiment." That sentiment was echoed by some of the opponents on Monday.
Gwyneth Watson of Victoria, B.C,, said she's put her hunt for land in New Brunswick on hold because of her fear of fracking.
Watson's husband is a former gas worker and she said she doesn't believe the industry would deliver the jobs people are hoping for.
"As far as running the compressor station, the stations my husband worked at could also be run from Vancouver by computer. They don't need more than a couple of people to run the stations," she said.