Sussex business community optimistic about lifting of fracking ban

WATCH: Debate over the future of fracking in New Brunswick has been escalating between politicians, but business leaders in Sussex are approving of the move. Silas Brown reports.

Just because Stephen Moffett leases land to Corridor Resources for natural gas extraction doesn’t mean environmental impacts aren’t on his mind.

“I live here, I’m a farmer. My family are here, my family fish in the river,” Moffet says.

“Environmental concerns are every bit as important to me as anyone else, maybe more so,” he adds.

READ MORE: New Brunswick Indigenous chiefs left ‘blindsided’ by decision to lift fracking moratorium

While Moffett says he’s in favour of the Higg’s government decision to lift the province’s fracking moratorium in the Sussex area he understands the trepidation others have about the potential impacts the extraction process can have on the environment. For Moffett the responsibility lies with government to ensure that any expansion in the McCully Field area happens in a safe and responsible manner.

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“I’ve been very clear, I’m happy with Corridor and if they want to go ahead I’m fine with that, as long as we know that it’s done right,” says Moffet.

“So I call on the government. I would say, or have said to Mr. Higgs, it’s your job, if these people go ahead, it’s your job to make sure it’s done right.”

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Down the road from Moffett’s Penobsquis farm in Sussex, support for the decision among the business community is high. But the president of the Sussex Chamber of Commerce says they are officially neutral on the issue.

WATCH: N.B. to lift fracking moratorium in Sussex area

N.B. to lift fracking moratorium in Sussex area
N.B. to lift fracking moratorium in Sussex area

“We’re the non-partisan voice for the business community, meaning that we support whatever venture your business decides to follow,” says Paul Bedford.

“If it happens to be in the natural gas development, so be it, but we want to see the local businesses here rebound from the 2016 mine closure and we want to see them grow and develop into what they could be,” he says.

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Bedford, who owns a business related to natural gas development, says he is personally in favour of the the decision to lift the ban. He says that news, combined with the recent announcement that the Nutrien mine would begin to mine road salt, have many in the area guardedly optimistic.

“In the business community itself I think a lot of people understand that this isn’t just going to happen overnight, it’s going to be a process, it’s going to be a bit of a delay, but there’s definitely a positive vibe,” he said.

“We’re looking forward saying this could be a strong [opportunity].”
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