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UPDATE: Fredericton chapter calls for provincial fracking moratorium

A media release issued yesterday states, “The Fredericton Chapter of the Council of Canadians and 16 organizations and community association across New Brunswick are demanding that the case for a moratorium be reopened and revised by an independent panel of scientists with no conflict of interest with industry.”

This demand was made because new oil and gas regulations – framed as stringent and responsible – announced on February 15 by provincial Energy minister Craig Leonard and Environment minister Bruce Fitch are seen as an attempt to deflect attention from the fact that the ministers have ruled out a moratorium on fracking.

For instance, among the new rules, “Open pits for the storage of wastewater will not be allowed. Instead, Environment Minister Bruce Fitch said companies must use large tanks to hold wastewater. …Fitch said if a water supply is compromised, the province would work to fix it and then go after the responsible oil or gas company for reimbursement so that residents aren’t fighting big oil and gas companies,” reports the Canadian Press.

On November 28, both ministers claimed that reports by Dr. Louis LaPierre and Dr. Eilish Cleary come to the same conclusion that a moratorium is neither required nor desirable in New Brunswick. But Dr. Guillermo Castilla, a member of the Fredericton chapter and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary, says, “The remarks about a moratorium appearing in the conclusion section of Dr. LaPierre’s report do not stem from the content of his report or the input he received from the public. …Even more striking is the misrepresentation of the conclusions of Dr. Cleary’s report, which does not even contain the word moratorium.”

In mid-February, federal environment minister Peter Kent voiced support for fracking in New Brunswick stating the economic benefits “are significant”.