Moratorium on fracking announced by Newfoundland government

Reviews, public consultations needed before policy developed, minister says

Published on November 4, 2013
Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

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

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.