FREDERICTON, N.B. – The New Brunswick government clarified comments made earlier this week on its promise to implement a moratorium on shale gas fracking.
Critics said the government may be straying from that position after the province’s energy minister was quoted in the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal saying a “regional” moratorium is an option the government is considering.
But Thursday, Premier Brian Gallant clarified his idea of a moratorium.
“You can be certain that anything that will be defined as the extraction method of hydraulic fracturing will be under the moratorium that we will impose,” he said.
A regional moratorium would mean Corridor Resources could continue fracking in the Sussex area, supplying natural gas to the nearby Potash mine.
“If all that stops, that was the fuel for the mine. If the mine has to find an alternate source, which is more expensive, that could end up having layoffs at the mine,” said Opposition Leader Bruce Fitch.
Corridor Resources president Steve Moran says his company needs to continue to drill and frack wells in the province and he is encouraged the government is taking the time to talk to the energy industry.
But Gallant says Corridor can use the already fracked wells.
“They maybe able to still get that if the wells that were previously fracked still have supply left in it.”
In 2013, Potash Corp. said 537 people worked at their Penobsquis mine.
A spokesperson for Potash Corp. said they depend on a steady supply of natural gas, and some of that comes from Corridor Resources. But the company wouldn’t say how much.
Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, with the Council of Canadians, says the government’s moratorium promise is something they need to make sure happens.
“A moratorium means for the whole province, it doesn’t mean for the whole province except for Penobsquis.”