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NEWS: Nova Scotia’s final report on fracking, due March 2012

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker

The Halifax Chronicle Herald reports, “(Nova Scotia’s NDP) Energy Minister Charlie Parker said he’s looking forward to the findings of the (province’s) hydraulic fracturing review (in March), which will look at all aspects of the industry including best practices and regulations.”

“‘I know there is quite a bit of concern out there amongst residents of our province over natural gas production onshore, including hydraulic fracturing, and certainly I know it’s important that we engage and talk to folks and get their point of view,’ he said. ‘But I don’t want to predetermine the study’s outcome. I’m waiting until next March when the final report is in to see what that suggests and then we’ll go from there.'”

In April 2011, a Government of Nova Scotia media release stated, “Energy Minister Charlie Parker and Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau announced today, April 4, that department officials will conduct a review of (hydraulic fracturing). …The team of senior technical and policy staff will identify potential environmental issues, determine how they are managed in other jurisdictions and identify industry best practices. The team will look at the reviews of other jurisdictions across Canada and the United States and bring in outside experts before making recommendations to improve regulations, where necessary.”

The timeline for completion of the review was less specific in that announcement. “The public will have an opportunity to provide written comments related to the topic areas covered by the scope. After the review, recommendations will be submitted to the province. The public will then have a chance to provide written comments on the recommendations. The review is expected to be finished by early next year.”

Council of Canadians Atlantic organizer Angela Giles wrote in an August 2011 blog, “The NDP government here in NS has started a review process, which many folks have participated in by contributing a written submission in the first stage. Many people have raised concerns with this process however, which include the limited scope of the process as well as methods of engagement and time limitations.”

Last June, Giles and water campaigner Emma Lui submitted a 7-page letter to this provincial review on fracking. They wrote, “We urge the government of Nova Scotia to ban fracking to protect water sources for current and future generations. Until a ban is implemented, we recommend that: All fracking projects should require an environmental impact assessment as well as a water permit from Nova Scotia Environment. Industry should be required to disclose all substances used in the fracking process until a ban is implemented.”

That letter can be read here.