N.B. business groups call on province to reconsider fracking ban
Published Wednesday, March 21, 2018 11:57AM ADT
The issue of hydraulic fracturing has resurfaced in New Brunswick as business groups plead with the province to reconsider its ban on the practice.
Natural gas development has come to a virtual standstill in New Brunswick since the Liberal government imposed a moratorium on fracking in December 2014.
This week, a coalition of New Brunswick business groups released a blueprint for economic growth, timed for this election year.
“We are at a crossroads and we feel that this is a time that we have to move forward,” says Krista Ross, CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.
The business leaders say moving forward means finding new sources of employment and revenue to combat the provincial debt, and that turning to a traditional source of growth would help boost the economy.
“I think we can’t afford to turn our back on any specific aspect of our economy, but in particular, natural resource development,” says Ross. “We wish there was not a moratorium [on fracking] and that the moratorium be lifted, absolutely.”
However, the Liberal government has consistently maintained that five conditions must be met before the moratorium is lifted. The conditions include a plan for regulations and waste-water disposal, a process for consultation with First Nations, a royalty structure, and a so-called social licence.
Premier Brian Gallant says he agrees with the business groups on other issues, including the importance of immigration, training, and creating jobs, but he reiterates that the moratorium on fracking will remain in place until the conditions are met.
“These conditions, I think, are very reasonable, ensuring that we’re developing our economy in a very responsible manner,” he says.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron and The Canadian Press