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Younger faces questions, criticism over N.S. fracking strategy

Protesters gather outside the Nova Scotia legislature in Halifax to show their opposition to the use of hydraulic fracturing, on April 22, 2011.
Protesters gather outside the Nova Scotia legislature in Halifax to show their opposition to the use of hydraulic fracturing, on April 22, 2011. Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s energy minister faced questions Tuesday at an industry conference about how Nova Scotia will become a centre for research in hydraulic fracturing technology while it moves to ban high-volume fracking for onshore oil and gas.

Andrew Younger told the Core Energy Conference in Halifax that there hasn’t been much industry interest in the method so far, and the majority of the public in the province remains opposed to fracking.

Younger added that his department still plans to provide a detailed geological map of where possible onshore oil and gas opportunities are, which he says will allow more informed debate in the future.

He was also asked if his department would work to reduce community fear about possible risks to watersheds and other environmental issues associated with fracking.

Younger responded by saying the government is surprised there hasn’t been more industry involvement in making their case to communities.

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The Liberal government announced a renewed moratorium on fracking last month through amendments to the Petroleum Resources Act.