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WIN! New Brunswick implements an indefinite moratorium on fracking

The Fredericton chapter highlights lack of social licence for fracking at release of commission report, February 26, 2016.


New Brunswick-based Council of Canadians chapter activists have long demanded a ban on fracking in their province and today they received some good news.


CBC reports, “Energy Minister Donald Arseneault says the New Brunswick government will indefinitely extend the province’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. The energy minister made the announcement on Friday in Fredericton. It was in response to the February report from the Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing. Arseneault said the shale gas industry still has not met the conditions necessary to lift the moratorium. ‘We have been clear that we would not allow this activity to go forward unless our five conditions were met’, Arseneault said in a statement.”


This morning the Fredericton chapter posted on its Facebook page, “Victory for the people!”


In December 2014, the New Brunswick government legislated a moratorium on fracking. Premier Brian Gallant said that moratorium would not be lifted until five conditions were met: 1) social licence; 2) a process to consult with First Nations; 3) a plan for wastewater disposal; 4) credible information on the impacts of fracking on health, water and the environment; 5) the development of a royalty structure.

Just a few months later, in March 2015, CBC reported, “The New Brunswick government has appointed a commission to study hydraulic fracturing and report back to cabinet within one year on whether the government’s conditions for shale gas development can be met.”


In our November 2015 submission to the commission, we stated, “The Council of Canadians, our supporters and chapter members oppose fracking because of its immense water use, its high carbon emissions, its impacts on human health and the environment, the few jobs it creates while also threatening our tourism industry and the danger it poses to groundwater and local drinking water. We are calling for a country-wide halt on fracking operations, including here in New Brunswick, and will continue to work with people in communities to achieve this.”


When the commission released its report in February 2016, the Fredericton chapter was there with signs to make it clear there was no “social licence” for fracking in the province. Kent County chapter activist Denise Melanson was also there to state, “Based on the Commission’s report, the government of New Brunswick must commit to a legislated moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the province. All five conditions, including social licence, have not been met and will require a lot of work. To give the people of this province some piece of mind and some security, the government should close the book on this industry.”


The Globe and Mail reports today, “In imposing a ban on fracking, New Brunswick joins Nova Scotia and Quebec as well as several U.S. states, including New York. By allowing the practice, states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio have seen a boom in shale gas production that has helped drive down North American energy costs.”


The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expressed disappointment with the government’s decision.