Dexter delays fracking decision for 2 years
Opposition says decision is political
The Nova Scotia government is delaying a decision on the controversial shale gas extraction process, known as fracking, until after the next provinicial election.
The government was originally going to decide the fate of hydraulic fracturing this spring, but now it will be at least another two years.
Premier Darrell Dexter said Monday that his government wants to wait until other provinces, the United States and Environment Canada table their reviews before making a decision.
That will push back the province's review of the controversial mining practice to at least the summer of 2014.
"What we want to do is make a competent, complete decision about what is a growing issue," he said.
Dexter said that one year ago most Nova Scotians had never even heard of hydro fracking.
The province launched the review a year ago and the plan had been to report back earlier this year.
Dartmouth East Liberal MLA Andrew Younger said this latest delay is more political than practical.
"Government has pushed the fracking review beyond the next election because they don't want have to deal with it at the moment because it's politically sensitive and charged," he said.
Inverness Tory MLA Allan MacMaster said Nova Scotians deserve to know whether this kind of gas extraction will or won't be allowed.
"It's something people feel is very urgent — they want to know. And I think there's no reason why the government couldn't move ahead with a decision on it," he said.
MacMaster said many people in his Cape Breton riding are anxious to know what the future holds and being asked to wait longer for an answer won't satisfy them at all.
Last year, the province gave Toronto-based PetroWorth Resources Inc. permission to drill a 1,200 to 1,500-metre exploratory oil well at West Lake Ainslie. Opponents say this will lead to hydro-fracking.
Dexter said politics has nothing to do with the delay.
"On this decision, I don't think it really matters when there is an election. This is about doing a scientific review and coming up with the right decision on it based on the science," he said.
"Now, there are those people who are out there who will say there is no science that justifies fracking. For those people, this won't be an answer and I understand that."
Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, in a speech to the New Brunswick NDP convention on the weekend, urged New Brunswickers to fight fracking.