Sussex hopes New Brunswick government will lift fracking ban for community

Penobsquis farmer Stephen Moffett addresses a rally calling on the New Brunswick government to lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing . Andrew Cromwell/Global News

The government of New Brunswick says it’s willing to work with the town of Sussex about potentially lifting the fracking moratorium that’s been indefinitely put in place across the entire province.

Residents and businesses in Sussex want their region exempted from the fracking ban, and say the town’s good track record with natural gas exploration should allow them the exception.

READ MORE: Business and energy leaders upset over extension of fracking moratorium

Stephen Moffett lives on a farm in Penobsquis and has leased part of the land to Corridor Resources natural gas facility for a number of years. Their use of the land includes wells for hydraulic fracking, which Moffett says has been an ideal situation.

“They’ve been here all this time and there just have been no issues what so ever,” Moffett said.

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Moffett was part of a large gathering Thursday speaking out against the government’s decision to continue the fracking moratorium. He told the group he has no issues with safety when it comes to fracking in the region.

There are five conditions Sussex must achieve in order to have the ban lifted, and the community is calling on the government to help.

“If industry can meet the five conditions that have been set, our government will revisit the moratorium,” Energy Minister Rick Doucet said.

However, he added that global market conditions for natural gas makes it “unlikely that industry will invest the necessary efforts to address the conditions in the short- or medium-term.”

READ MORE: Energy industry urging government to lift fracking moratorium

The five conditions that must be met include:

  • Ensuring a social licence is in place
  • Clear and credible information is available about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on public health, the environment and water
  • A plan is in place to mitigate the impacts on public infrastructure and to address issues such as waste water disposal
  • A process is in place to respect the duty of the provincial government to consult with First Nations
  • A mechanism is in place to ensure that benefits are maximized for New Brunswickers

Fundy Royal Liberal MP Alaina Lockhart says the ban on fracking is a provincial issue, but the Sussex is unique.

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“Where we had the exploration and development of natural gas in this area and as you’ve seen today there’s many cases of that being a positive experience,” Lockhart said.

“Not everyone in New Brunswick has that experience.”

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