The Nova Scotia government’s decision to introduce legislation to prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing for onshore shale gas would deprive the economy of substantial investments and send a negative signal to other eastern provinces, say industry observers.
The provincial government will introduce the legislation this fall, Andrew Younger, the province’s energy minister said Wednesday. The ban is not directed at offshore energy developments.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process of injecting water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground to coax gas out, has been successfully deployed for decades in Western Canada and the United States. But critics say the process can contaminate water tables and possibly cause earthquakes.
“We are disappointed with the government’s announcement as it largely omits the knowledge from Western Canadian regulators and industry experts,” said Paul Barnes, Atlantic Canada manager at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), an industry body.
The provincial government’s decision comes a week after an independent panel of experts released a report recommending “hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of unconventional gas and oil development should not proceed at the present time in Nova Scotia.”
However, the industry says the 387-page report did not recommend an outright ban and suggested ways to overcome community concerns.