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Energy industry urging government to lift fracking moratorium

Energy industry urging government to lift fracking moratorium
WATCH ABOVE: It has been a month and a half since the New Brunswick commission on Hydraulic Fracturing gave its recommendations to the provincial government, and there is still no word on whether a moratorium will be lifted. As Jeremy Keefe reports, that has drawn the ire of industry professionals.

Jobs and a boost to a struggling economy are two of the main reasons why energy companies say New Brunswick should lift its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing immediately.

“We have had, historically, natural gas development… going back to the 1800’s,” said Colleen Mitchell, President of the Atlantica Centre for Energy. “So, today it’s interesting that we have companies that have been operating in the province for over ten years successfully, environmentally sustainably, working in this industry and yet a moratorium was imposed basically shutting them down.”

READ MORE: N.B. Energy Minister grants SWN natural gas search licences until 2021

“We would certainly advocate that the companies that have been operating here to that degree should be allowed to proceed and quite frankly, immediately.”

On the other side of the fence are environmentalists who say not only is natural gas exploration unsafe but that it’s also not as vital as it once was believed to be.

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“We’re all wrapped up in the economic opportunity that presents itself by acting on reducing greenhouse gases,” said Lois Corbett, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “It’s time to move on and invest in the renewable sector, not in natural gas.”

“It was good public policy when it was announced a year and a half ago… and it’s still good public policy.”

The Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing released its findings at the end of February.

Since then the province hasn’t given any details as to their future plans.

READ MORE: 4.6-magnitude quake linked to fracking in B.C.

Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arsenault said in a statement they’re “focused on diversifying the economy in order to create jobs” and “that’s why we appointed an independent commission to study the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on our health, water and environment.”

“We will take the appropriate time to review the Commission’s findings before making any final decisions. For the time-being, the moratorium will be maintained.”