In December 2014 the Government of New Brunswick placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. In March 2015 it created the New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing to determine if five conditions could be met to lift the moratorium.
The moratorium will not be lifted unless there is:
- a social license in place;
- clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on public health, the environment and water, allowing the government to develop a country-leading regulatory regime with sufficient enforcement capabilities;
- a plan in place that mitigates the impacts on public infrastructure and that addresses issues such as waste water disposal;
- a process in place to respect the duty of the provincial government to consult with First Nations; and
- a mechanism in place to ensure that benefits are maximized for New Brunswickers, including the development of a proper royalty structure.
The Commission, which has cast itself as a “citizens” panel in that none of its members are experts in the sciences or engineering of oil and gas, has formally invited individuals and groups to make submissions and/or request a meeting with the Commission in relation to the five conditions set out in its terms of reference.
The commissioners are interested in hearing from any and all residents who wish to contribute to the dialogue. They are particularly interested to hear from their fellow New Brunswickers who:
- have direct knowledge of the shale gas industry as workers and/or service providers;
- live near possible well sites;
- have experience and/or knowledge, either formal or informal, in the areas of:
- aboriginal rights;
- air and/or water quality and safety;
- New Brunswick’s geology;
- land management;
- North American energy markets;
- public health;
- public infrastructure;
- public safety and emergency planning;
- regulatory regimes;
- socio-economic impacts; and/or
- waste water treatment and management.
All submissions will be made public on the commission’s website which can be found here.
The Commission is supposed to make its recommendations to the government in March 2016.