Consultation extended for shale gas reforms
Public can submit views on the proposed changes until Sept. 18
The New Brunswick government is giving citizens two additional months to offer their views on the proposed changes that govern the oil and gas industry.
Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup said the provincial government has received more than 100 comments since the proposed reforms were announced on May 17.
"I have had people ask for more time to read the discussion paper, do additional research and provide their comments,'' Northrup said in a statement.
People now have until Sept. 18 to submit their comments, instead of July 18, he said.
The provincial government announced 116 different reforms that, if implemented, would ensure more money flows into the provincial coffers and is sent to property owners and communities where mining activity is taking place.
The changes would also set out strict rules on protecting the environment and natural gas companies would also be hit with higher fines if they break the rules.
Louis LaPierre, a professor emeritus in biology from the University of Moncton, has also been hired by the provincial government to ask citizens about their views on the proposed changes.
The final public meeting is scheduled for July 4 in Norton.
Some participants have complained that none of the hearings have been held in the larger cities, such as Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John.
The provincial government has dealt with significant criticism in the last year over shale gas exploration and the use of the controversial hydraulic fracturing process.
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 of the process say it could have a negative effect on local water supplies and many of them have held protests across the province.