Moratorium on fracking announced by Newfoundland government

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Reviews, public consultations needed before policy developed, minister says

Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley has declared a moratorium on fracking in the province.

Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Dalley started off the fall sitting in the House of Assembly by announcing that the government will not approve fracking onshore and onshore-to-offshore hydraulic fracturing pending further review.

Dalley said the government will be doing public consultation before it develops any policy for fracking.

Both the Liberals and the NDP are supporting the move.

Dalley said this moratorium will allow an opportunity to review regulations, rules and guidelines in other jurisdictions, to complete the technical work necessary to fully assess the geological impact in western Newfoundland and, following this process, to undertake public consultation to ensure residents have an opportunity to comment and are fully informed before any decision is made.

The minister said oil and gas exploration and development has played a significant role in the economic growth of this province, transforming the economy and prospects for Newfoundland and Labrador. “Petroleum drilling and production activities throughout our province have proceeded in accordance with stringent regulations and rules. Our sound approach to petroleum industry regulation and environmental protection is guiding the step we are taking today,” Dalley said. “Our first consideration is the health and safety of our people. In making this decision, our government is acting responsibly and respecting the balance between economic development and environmental protection.”

Dalley spoke to reporters after question period, saying that he understands that it's an emotional issue, which is why the government is putting the brakes on things.

He said he doesn't know how long the review will take, but when it's done, information on fracking will be made public. 



Organizations: NDP

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Lou
    February 16, 2014 - 15:28

    Hail to Derrick Dalley and the Nfld Government! We need more politicians like him that aren't falling for the corporate payoffs and speaking up for what is right! My Newfie dad would be proud and grateful that his beautiful, peaceful homeland isn't being prostituted by Big Petro and the Big Banks who fund them. I doubt that the local economy is being helped more than what is been taken away from environment and well being of the people. Gee, I went to university decades ago and learned about cost/benefit analysis. There are real costs that need to be properly investigated before we blindly carry out these acts of violence against our mother earth, our home.

  • Ginny Sykes
    January 26, 2014 - 10:53

    Here in the yukon we have to protest and try to make our conservative yukon party do the same.

  • Mike
    January 25, 2014 - 22:41

    That move should be used as a template worldwide. Compare to Caribbean British Petroleum disaster.

  • Ellenie Ash
    January 25, 2014 - 20:05

    I do believe that Canada is much more sensitive to problems of Natural Resouces like Water, Wildlife, Tundra, Mountains, and Forests. Why do some of you think that it is impossible to understand that some methods of pulling out resources are detrimental for other resources like water. We have a town in Texas that has had 30 earthquakes in 1 month. This has never happened before and no one in the Texas Govt. is even investigating it. My hat's off to any Politician to stand up and respond to the People's concerns. I do find it hard to understand why people accept assurances by Big Business when they know that they are all about making money. We see this all the time in the USA and I am praying that Canada will do better than us.

  • krusty
    January 25, 2014 - 00:44

    Being a Newfoundlander I work for a company in B.C and fracking is a way of life and for many other Newfondlanders I know. If Newfoundland came on board with fracking you would see a lot of us returning home being cloce to family and friends. Every one is concurned about fracking and the affects it has in the enviroment but no one really sees what really happens only what they see on the news or tv many murders and other crimes about drugs do you see every day on the news does the people get involved and shut down these crimes .? Every one wishes there was more work back home but people dont realise how many jobs this would create for Newfoundland On a last note.......the next time you put gas in your car or adjust your heat in your house think of where the gas is coming from!

    • Tim Gard
      January 26, 2014 - 16:03

      Damn those critical health nuts! Health is over rated where a good income is concerned! So what if our children suffer! We can always make more! Better your kids than mine Krusty.

    January 22, 2014 - 18:39

    As a New Brunswicker, that's all we ask for, to be sure to saveguard our water and natural resources, and to protect the future of the next generations. It seems that some people will do anything to get their hands on cash even if they destroy our water ways, they live for today only , run by GREED only.

  • harry carter
    January 22, 2014 - 09:45

    of coarse the NDP and Fiberals are backing it so they can claim it was them who stopped fracking.........

  • Koreene
    January 20, 2014 - 20:25

    This is good. I don't no y New Zealand don't do this the Maori people try to tell the government and what they are doing to our papataunuku (land) and what it would do to our wai (waterway) but they don't want to know. So this is good KIA KAHA. (Keep fighting for your people...

  • liszka
    January 18, 2014 - 17:01

    You are a very wise man Derrick Dalley. Nfld is blessed to have you.

  • mike clunas
    January 18, 2014 - 12:12

    I am so glad that your Government has finally decided to look into this serious matter that effects the lives of people and the environment. It is about time that fracking be fully investigated to insure the safety of health and to protect the land and wild life.

  • derm english
    January 17, 2014 - 10:02

    Great news, but remember, your politicians, the oil execs, the judges, will all lie to you so that big business gets its way like the spoiled little children they are. Be vigilant. Save your water.

  • David Manske
    January 17, 2014 - 09:23

    Thank you!! We need this to go global!!

  • Jo-Anne
    January 17, 2014 - 09:16

    Remember .. the most valuable liquid in this world is fresh, undiluted water.

  • Hans geiger
    January 17, 2014 - 03:48

    If only other countries would do and act alike!!!!

  • Kyle
    January 17, 2014 - 02:57

    Your fracking kidding me right?

  • Adele Armin
    January 16, 2014 - 23:05

    It's gratifying to see wisdom shown in another region of Canada.

  • Madeline Taylor
    January 16, 2014 - 20:46

    Very good plan!

  • Lorne Peterson
    January 16, 2014 - 20:29

    Resource Minister Derrick Dalley is the first politician to make a true democratic statement.

  • Flo
    January 16, 2014 - 10:19

    All parties should throw their support behind this monumental decision to ban fracking- I support Cathy Dunderdale 100%-and am grateful to be a Newfoundlander and a proud one,at that.- This is a David against Goliath decision that took guts and integrity to make .Every sane person is against this horrible practice-

  • Sonja Kaminsky
    January 16, 2014 - 09:41

    If this is TRUTH, I applaud the Province of Newfoundland's stance on this BIG ISSUE .... and to get the Public involved is absolutely the only way to go! And the PUBLIC should be well informed of the issues of FRACKING. :-)

  • Fred Palmer
    January 16, 2014 - 01:25

    I am glad someone told big business to frack off.

  • Jacob Benoit
    January 15, 2014 - 23:10

    No Fracking Newfoundland & Labrador 100% The People will never gain. Just the Oil & Gas Giants and Government's that have personal Interests. The Outcome would be a disaster with a no fix , no amount of money can ever restore the lives at risk including our Home. There can never be a going back. Let's do this right people now Ban Fracking Newfoundland & Labrador forever. To much at risk...

  • alfred
    January 15, 2014 - 16:40

    that good work for New Foundland. now what about New Brunswick?

  • Joanna
    January 15, 2014 - 11:15

    It is very good decision. Yes, Always the best interest of people and enviroment should go first . Congrats Newfoundland . I wish the others will follow you.

  • Andrea Schibler
    January 15, 2014 - 10:02

    Congratulations on choosing the health of your immediate environment and your people!

  • Miss Ique
    December 10, 2013 - 18:32

    Go to this website and check out the annual sunshine hours (1600) and the fact that Newfoundland is the windiest Province in Canada. Wind turbines and solar panels don't "fracture" the tectonic plates!!! GO Newfoundland!

    • Miss Ique
      January 17, 2014 - 07:22

      Have you ever been to NL? Sunshine? Please St. John' airport is fogged in for days at a time my dear.

    • George Handel
      January 17, 2014 - 19:57

      Neither does fracking fracture tectonic plates... I don't think you understand what you're saying. We'd have literally caused volcanoes and destruction of the surface of the Earth if we were constantly fracturing entire tectonic plates. Also, you should look up something called "sunlight intensity". A big part of the reason that solar isn't a great choice for Canada (though the southern US really should be utilizing it more) is that, despite places like Alberta getting a lot of hours of un-obscured sunlight, the sunlight intensity isn't nearly as good as it is further south. Also there's the issue of snow and constant de-icing in the winter which is energy/labour-intensive. But getting back on topic, I think Dalley's decision makes a lot of sense, both for the sake of the public (as he said, there are a lot of emotions involved), as well as to mitigate any risk of groundwater contamination from poor practices. Kudos.

  • rick
    December 02, 2013 - 20:41

    I think its wise to show caution on fracking - oil is big bucks but consider water

  • Dave
    November 07, 2013 - 16:33

    Cautiously optimistic on this one.... They are proceeding with a "review [of] regulations, rules and guidelines in other jurisdictions, to complete the technical work necessary to fully assess the geological impact...". This means fracking is not completely off the table but at the very least they are examining and hopefully looking for the facts.

  • Mitch
    November 06, 2013 - 19:52

    Yes this is so great to hear. Would be amazing to hear from our Federal Government.

    • Bobby
      November 11, 2013 - 14:39

      Why? Natural Resources fall under Provincial Regulations!!

    • Kristina
      December 07, 2013 - 19:07

      I am currently also working on a report regarding Hydraulic Fracturing in North America. In both Canada and the United States, there is no federal legislation on fracking. In Canada, the constitution actually prohibits the Canadian parliament from regulating non-renewable resources such as oil and gas. Regulation of oil and gas is "assigned exclusively to the legislatures of the Provinces". Newfoundland is joining Nova Scotia and Quebec who have also placed moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing until further information can be acquired. There are several risks associated with this process; however, very few of these risks are unique to hydraulic fracturing and are rather risks of any oil and gas development process.

  • Kathleen Solose
    November 05, 2013 - 23:04

    Yes, this is an emotional and vital issue- It concerns preserving Canada's fresh water resources. When the US has polluted all of theirs, they'll be wanting ours. See the movie "Gasland" for an eye-opener and check out the maps of existing gas drilling sites.

    • Kristina
      December 07, 2013 - 19:12

      I think you will find it interesting that in regards to hydraulic fracturing around the Great Lakes, the United States has federal legislation against fracturing under the "bed of the Great Lakes Basin". This is not only the only federal piece of legislation that United States has against fracking, but in Ontario legislation actually permits fracking. In Canada there are over 500 (onshore and offshore) wells producing NG under the "bed of Lake Erie".

  • maurice violette
    November 05, 2013 - 21:00

    Finaly a government with guts.

  • Max
    November 05, 2013 - 17:18

    I love it when the government gets it right! Anything that can contaminate large volumes of our freshwater resources must be stopped. It's not just for this generation, we have to consider what we are leaving our kids and grandkids to deal with.

  • Dan Rubin
    November 05, 2013 - 11:12

    Finally, a sensible decision regarding energy development by our current provincial government. Fracking has shown to be a nightmare in multiple jurisdictions around the world. Hopefully a full review will show this and also the depth of popular opposition to this dangerous and unnecessary practice.

  • Donalda MacDonald
    November 04, 2013 - 19:49

    I'm ashamed to admit that I know so little of the politics of Newfoundland (though I did meet Joey Smallwood in St John's in the mid 70's). I do know that fracking is only good for the big oil and gas corporations. Everyone else loses! You should be proud that your government has chosen the citizens of Newfoundland over the interest of Big Oil.

  • Virginia Waters
    November 04, 2013 - 19:36

    Not sure what all the fuss is about. John Crosbie says it's a "safe and proven" practise. Surely he wouldn't steer us wrong.

  • Roy Ries
    November 04, 2013 - 19:18

    Three cheers for NL! Despite huge opposition by the people of New Brunswick, the oil and gas industry has more economic and political power than the citizens over government decisions.

  • Dave
    November 04, 2013 - 18:48

    You are out of your league Derek. Please don't run again next time. Wait, why would have your two terms in.

  • Joe
    November 04, 2013 - 16:41

    The sad thing about this is that all the facts are based on our American Counterparts . The part that we as Canadians insure is that we know how to keep our Enviroment safe . These Private Firms like the ones on the East Coast off shore make sure of very stringant reporting .and incident prevention . There are other factors that are involved in the building of programs of such treatments. Rates , Pressures and Volumes are figured to have a means of safe guidelines . Please look into this topic or ask a Professional and then delay the process .

  • carogers
    November 04, 2013 - 16:01

    I am so happy:) They have made the right decision for the future of NL's environment. Maybe other places will follow and stop the Fracking madness.

  • Pauline
    November 04, 2013 - 15:41

    Wait until after 2015, election then you will fine out about fracking in our province..

  • david
    November 04, 2013 - 13:49

    Does no one else find it just a little disturbing that this government, in all its ignorance of commercial enterprise, forges ahead with something as potentially bankrupting as Muskrat Falls...a project that has extremely great and informed opposition from those directly impacted.... while it simultaneously shuts the door on the private sector that wants to --- technically capably --- risk enormous sums of its own money to develop more natural resources in this province, and based on the factless rants of a few dozen clueless people? No one?

    • Dolf
      November 04, 2013 - 14:39

      This is another factless rant.

    • Wanda
      November 04, 2013 - 16:25

      Frankly, david, I find your rant more than a little disturbing.

    • Paul
      November 04, 2013 - 18:39

      The fact of the matter is that; the oil & gas has been there for millions of years and it will still be there tomorrow. However if in our zeal to get this resource we contaminate our ground water that resource will be gone forever. We should proceed slowly and with all due caution. Perhaps in a few years we will have a better, safer way to extract this resource.

  • Louisette Lanteigne
    November 04, 2013 - 13:35

    Fracking cannot reasonably prevent groundwater contamination. Engineering firms rely on modflow which assumes aquifers are self contained. They have no regard for vertical fractures that exist or that can occur. There are seismic risks involved as well. For an island community, freshwater resources is imperative to protect. An absolute prohibition should stay in place to protect the island for generations to come. No private company has the legal right to ruin water supplies. Keep it that way.

    • david
      November 04, 2013 - 14:25

      Fracking bedrock a radial distance of a fraction of a meter from the source is very difficult to achieve at all, and is performed several hundreds, even thousands separated form groundwater acquifers . Why is this topic, just another one of the literally millions of things you never heard of in your lives, so dam interesting for you people ? You don't know how a car works, but you all drive. You don't know where your fast food comes from, but you all eat like pigs, you drink your tap water knowing that the people charged with keeping it safe could very well be drunk or stoned on the job......what is it with this?

    • 4knots
      November 05, 2013 - 05:14

      Here in the USA, fracking has ruined the water quality of many communities, yet it continues to grow like a cancer.

    • david
      November 05, 2013 - 09:51

      Does driving cause heart attacks? That happens too. The "conclusion" is obvious: outlaw all driving.

  • david
    November 04, 2013 - 13:22

    Amazing....we've gone from a government that didn't care what anyone thoughtabout anything to one that completely obeys any marginally malcontented crackpot. BTW, now that the inmates have officially begun running the asylum, do they qualify for government salaries and pensions? Just asking.

    • Dolf
      November 04, 2013 - 14:43

      Surely David you don't accept this as a rejection of fracking in Newfoundland & Labrador. Ever heard of the word stall? Get real b'y, Dalley said absolutely nothing.

    • Eli
      November 04, 2013 - 18:50

      Be careful David when describing "marginally malconted crackpots". You sure you're not looking in a mirror? Get over yourself.