People's Alliance not keen on partial lifting of fracking moratorium in N.B.
The shale gas moratorium just might survive New Brunswick's new Progressive Conservative minority government.
Premier Blaine Higgs says he plans to put the idea of lifting part of the moratorium to a vote, but even the People's Alliance don't seem to be on his side this time.
Almost four years ago, then-premier Brian Gallant introduced legislation that placed a moratorium on fracking in New Brunswick.
Since then, there's been talk of what it will take to lift that moratorium.
“I remember it coming into the legislature and in order for a change to be made, it's got to come back,” said Higgs.
Higgs thinks they have the right idea by only lifting the moratorium in one area -- Sussex -- where companies like Corridor Resources had been extracting shale gas for several years before the ban.
“I thought a good compromise was a region that wants to proceed and it doesn't mean everybody,” Higgs said. “I said it this morning. Everybody shouldn't descend on Sussex and oppose this, they should say well let this region do what they want to do.”
The legislation isn't on the table yet,
and if it does go to a vote, it doesn't appear lifting the moratorium -- even partially -- will get the 25 votes it needs.
“I am not going to vote in favour of shale gas. Period,” said People's Alliance MLA Rick Desaulniers. “And, if it comes to lifting the moratorium in Sussex, I’m not going to vote for that, either.”
People's Alliance MLA Michelle Conroy said she also has concerns – about the health of residents and the environment.
“I’m leaning towards against, but I've got to go back to my people and see exactly what my constituents want,” said Peoples Alliance leader Kris Austin.
This is all a relief to Green Party Leader David Coon.
“Twenty-five is the magic number, and we're darned close to having 25 votes based on what people are saying,” he said.
To no one’s surprise, the Liberals aren't planning to vote for it either.
“If you open part of the floodgates, you basically open the whole flood gates so we feel uneasy with the partial lifting,” said Liberal MLA Benoit Bourque.
Higgs believes the facts should be put on the table before the legislation and then he hopes members will base their decision on those facts -- rather than emotion.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.