Fracking commission will consider new U.S. report, Brian Gallant says
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found no evidence of widespread, systemic drinking water contamination
Premier Brian Gallant says a new American report on fracking could play a role in his government's approach to shale gas in the province.
Gallant imposed a moratorium on shale gas development in New Brunswick last year, but he also has a commission in place to study whether the moratorium should stay in place.
He says the EPA study will be valuable.
"It's a very credible institution, there's no doubt about it. That's one of the reasons why over the last couple of years we said that a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing was the right position as we waited for very credible institutions to look into this matter," Gallant said on Friday.
It's going to be important for the commission we've appointed to do an independent and exhaustive job looking at all the evidence and take this report into consideration.- Brian Gallant, premier
"I haven't had a chance to look in depth into the report, but I did hear about some of the comments it made. It's going to be important for the commission we've appointed to do an independent and exhaustive job looking at all the evidence and take this report into consideration."
The Opposition Progressive Conservatives say the fracking moratorium should end now.
They contend the province needs the jobs and that the regulations they put in place while they were in government are sufficient.
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.
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.