Brian Gallant holds firm on hydro-fracking moratorium promise – NB Votes 2014

Premier-designate Brian Gallant is not backing away from his campaign commitments on imposing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and lifting barriers on access to abortion.

The newly elected Liberal premier said on Wednesday morning that he will meet with any companies that are concerned about his party’s promise to bring in a moratorium on the controversial hydro-fracking process.

“There will be a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and those businesses, I’m sure, are not surprised,” Gallant said.

“This has been talked about, discussed and debated as a province for months if not years now.”

Gallant won 27 seats in Monday’s election. The Progressive Conservatives won 21 seats and the Green Party has a single seat.

He said it would be “a bit simplistic” to say his party’s election is based solely on shale gas, but he acknowledged that the moratorium was likely a “big factor.”

Gallant said he will sit down with any companies that are affected by the moratorium policy so he can explain his policy surrounding the industry.

He said it will be up the companies to decide how they want to proceed in the future.

However, Gallant did acknowledge that it’s possible the provincial government could face a lawsuit from a company that is operating in the province.

“[A legal action] is certainly something that could become a reality. We recognize that. We will certainly meet with [shale gas companies] and we will explain why our position is what it is,” he said.

“We will certainly look to other jurisdictions that have imposed moratoriums or complete bans,” such as Nova Scotia and Quebec.

“I think we have jurisdictions around us where I think we’ll be able to pull some of their experiences, how exactly this should be instituted, what’s the best way to go about it and what are the next steps.”

David Alward’s Progressive Conservatives based their election campaign on moving forward with the shale gas industry and creating other natural resource-based jobs.

Green Party Leader David Coon said he wanted all shale gas contracts revoked and a ban on the industry.

The CBC/Radio-Canada poll released in September during the election campaign found 49 per cent of people completely or mostly supported the exploration and development of shale gas compared to 44 per cent who said they mostly or completely opposed the industry.

Further, the poll found that 81 per cent completely or mostly agree that regulations are required but they still worry about the environmental impact of shale gas. Additionally, 54 per cent say they completely or mostly agree that the exploration and production of shale gas will have negative environmental impacts that will outweigh the economic benefits.

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