Energy Minister Andrew Younger announced yesterday that the government of Nova Scotia will introduce legislation this autumn to prohibit high volume hydraulic fracturing for onshore shale gas.
“Nova Scotians have overwhelmingly expressed concern about allowing high volume hydraulic fracturing to be a part of onshore shale development in this province at this time,” said Mr. Younger. “Our petroleum resources belong to Nova Scotians, and we must honour the trust people have put in us to understand their concerns. We will therefore introduce legislation to prohibit using this technique to stimulate onshore shale projects.”
The decision comes after considering comments submitted by many Nova Scotians over the past 10 months, as well as studies, including an independent review commissioned by the government of Nova Scotia, and the recent Council of Canadian Academies’ report for the federal government.
“I also spoke this morning with Mi’kmaq Chiefs Paul Prosper, Terrance Paul, and Sidney Peters and they expressed support for the government’s decision to prohibit hydraulic fracturing operations in shale petroleum developments,” said Mr. Younger. “Our cabinet met with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs earlier this year and this was among the issues discussed at that time.
“The first onshore well in Nova Scotia was drilled in 1869 and petroleum development remains an important part of our energy and economic future. Coal gas methane projects, such as the current well-supported project in Stellarton, and developing our offshore resources remain key priorities of government.”
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said it was disappointed with the decision, which it claimed was not based on technical knowledge of industry regulators.
“While the commercial viability of Nova Scotia’s onshore natural gas resource has yet to be fully proven, (this) announcement has the potential to preclude Nova Scotians from benefiting from the responsible development of this resource,” association president Dave Collyer said in a statement.
Paul Barnes, Atlantic Canada manager at the CAPP also commented on the decision saying: “We are disappointed with the government’s announcement as it largely omits the knowledge from Western Canadian regulators and industry experts.”
Denver-based Triangle Petroleum drilled several test wells in central Nova Scotia in 2007 and 2008, but only three involved hydraulic fracturing. The wells were the first and only ones to be fracked in the province.
They failed to produce any commercial quantities of gas, and the company is still trying to get rid of two holding ponds containing 30 million litres of contaminated fracking wastewater.
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