Rules will change following seismic testing: minister
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, December 15, 2011 7:03PM AST
FREDERICTON - There have been two more cases of gas exploration companies doing seismic testing within New Brunswick municipalities without permission, the province's natural resources minister revealed Thursday.
Bruce Northrup told the legislature that Windsor Energy did testing along a provincial highway in Quispamsis in October and SWN Resources Canada did the same on Crown land within the rural community of Upper Miramichi.
He said neither company intended to break the rules.
"In both cases this was unintentional as the companies did not intend to do work within a municipality without consent," Northrup said in the house.
Tom Alexander, general manager for SWN Resources, said he immediately apologized to the minister and the mayor and councillors after the mistake was made in Upper Miramichi in July.
He said the company had overlooked one step when dealing with the mayor and council.
"We went in and briefed them as to what we would be doing. This was no surprise," Alexander said Thursday in an interview. "The only glitch here was we actually didn't get a signed document from the council."
Officials with Windsor Energy did not reply to a request for comment.
Denis Landry, the Opposition critic for natural resources, said he doesn't believe the incidents were unintentional.
"Companies that do such seismic testing in different municipalities, they know the law," he said. "It was unintentional? I don't believe that at all."
The Natural Resources Department filed a complaint with the RCMP in early November, alleging that Windsor Energy had violated the Oil and Natural Gas Act by conducting testing in Sussex without consent of town council. The RCMP later determined there were no grounds for charges.
Northrup said he views all the incidents as serious and has directed staff to immediately review provincial legislation and prepare revisions.