While still open to new information on process, no specific travel on tap
Derrick Dalley became the provincial minister responsible for Natural Resources — the position that has been the go-to for questions on government policies around hydraulic fracturing (fracking) — in the Oct. 9 cabinet shuffle.
Fracking has been a highly controversial topic in recent years, with opponents to its use in stimulating production from an oil well pointing to their concerns around environmental safety.
Their concerns have been underscored by public meetings and protests.
There are currently no proposals for the use of fracking for oil projects in Newfoundland.
That said, Dalley’s predecessor at Natural Resources, Tom Marshall, had undertaken fact-finding efforts focused on the process of fracking and its regulation.
Marshall travelled to Weyburn, Sask., in early August, specifically to learn more. In addition, from Aug. 24-27, he attended the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference in Yellowknife, N.W.T., spending time on the same subject.
The new minister at Natural Resources is not planning any fracking fact-finding missions of his own for the near future.
“Minister Marshall's visit to Saskatchewan helped inform the department regarding hydraulic fracturing practices occurring in a province that produces shale oil, and provided input into our jurisdictional review,” said Dalley, in a statement provided in response to questions Friday.
A department spokeswoman confirmed Dalley has no travel plans for further fracking fact finding this year.
The Dunderdale government has maintained it remains confident the province’s current regulations can be used to properly deal with any proposed projects.
Environment Minister Joan Shea indicated this week, through a spokeswoman in her department, she is taking a look at the environmental review process around fracking and, “is prepared to listen to and consider public opinion on this issue.”