The Gallant government has addressed one of the more high profile issues in its ongoing moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the province.
The government says it will not allow fracking wastewater to be disposed at any municipal wastewater facility in the province. It says provisions to the clean water act will be introduced.
“To not only prohibit the disposal of hydraulic fracturing wastewater in municipal wastewater treatment systems but also ensure that hydraulic fracturing wastewater from other jurisdictions is not imported into New Brunswick for disposal,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle.
The government says this form of wastewater disposal is no longer standard industry practice. Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet says it’s meant to clarify the situation for municipalities with systems that are taxpayer funded.
“We’re not going to be putting frack wastewater into those systems that could contaminate or ruin their own system,” he said.
Fracking wastewater is one of five conditions the government says must be met before a moratorium on the practice can be lifted.
Fracking opponents feel this latest news could be a big blow to the effort to reestablish the industry in New Brunswick.
“There’s some cowboys in the oil and gas industry that will take the cheapest disposal option possible every day 365 days a year,” said Lois Corbett of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.
“This is taking an inexpensive and dangerous practice off the table all together.”
The province says other options are available for disposing of wastewater but they will still have to meet various regulations.