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Fracking debate lights up in Sudbury

People in Sudbury are talking about fracking in the wake of protests against the controversial method of gas extraction in New Brunswick.

Idle no More Campaign to End Fracking has set up a ceremonial fire in Memorial Park

People in Sudbury are talking about fracking in the wake of protests against the controversial method of gas extraction in New Brunswick.

The Idle no More Campaign to End Fracking has set up a ceremonial fire in Memorial Park in solidarity.

Bruce McComber, who is with the anti-fracking campaign in Sudbury, said industry is eyeing Ontario.

“And on Manitoulin Island, specifically, [representatives with the oil and gas industry are] doing consultations with the communities, in the bands,” he said.

But that is something the Ministries of Natural Resources and Northern Development and Mines disputes.

The MNR's Jolanta Kowalski said there is no indication Manitoulin hosts economic reserves of shale gas.

She said there are no proposals for exploration before the MNR.

‘Looking at the science’

But she says both ministries are reviewing environmental legislation.

“So we're looking at the science and the current legislation, before any kind of decisions concerning the potential use of fracking would be done to extract shale gas in the province,” she said.

The province's environmental commissioner, Gord Miller, says study is good, but the province needs some transparency.

“It would be nice if we had some regulations posted on the Environmental Registry for public comment and we could see what they are,” he said.

Miller said he has been pushing the province to address the fracking issue for more than a year.

“Because there is the possibility — and some say the likelihood — of eventually having commercially exploited deposits in Ontario,” he said.

“Why wouldn't we have put in place regulations relating to this like other jurisdictions have done?”

Nova Scotia has already put regulations in place, Miller noted.

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