Ontario rejects fracking ban

Peter Tabuns
Source: Greencolander under Creative Commons

Ontario’s Liberal Government has rejected an NDP private member’s bill to indefinitely ban fracking in the province. The New Democrats’ member Peter Tabuns says fracking poses substantial risks to ground water and Ontario should follow the example of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and New York in completely banning shale exploration.

“There’s no need for Ontario to risk environmental damage and lawsuits by leaving the door open to this controversial practice,” said Tabuns. “Let’s learn from the hard experience of others and act now.”

However, Natural Resources Minister Bill Mauro said the government will not impose a ban on fracking.

“We’re internally reviewing what our plans will be and we’ll go forward on that basis,” Mauro told reporters. “We won’t be going forward with a moratorium. The review will determine what our next steps will be.”

Mr Mauro said that Mr Tabuns’ motion is premature as there have been no fracking applications to the ministry, no one is seeking a licence and there is no exploration going on for fracking in Ontario right now. The minister said he wasn’t sure there’s enough potential gas in the province to attract companies that want to frack.

“I would speculate that if there was a lot of [shale gas in the province] they would have probably been here already, but I don’t know if there is or is not,” Mauro said. “I would expect they would have already been sniffing around if that were the case.”

Mr Mauro also said he would not put a timeline on when his ministry’s review of the fracking issue could be completed.

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