Nova Scotia Government Puts Hydraulic Fracturing on Hold for Two More Years: Fracking on Hold for Two Years in Nova Scotia

Article excerpt

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government is putting a two-year hold on hydraulic fracturing, saying it needs more time to study a controversial oil and gas industry practice that has raised concerns about contamination of drinking water.

The government had planned to release a review of the industry this spring, but it announced Monday that the report has been put off until mid-2014, prompting critics to suggest the ruling NDP is trying to avoid the issue until after the next election, expected as early as next spring.

"They don't want to have to deal with it at the moment because it is politically sensitive and charged," said Liberal critic Andrew Younger.

Ken Summers, a member of the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition, came to the same conclusion.

"The one year that they had allowed for the review was, in our opinion, never enough time," he said in an interview from his home in Minasville. "Merely taking another year doesn't necessarily mean anything except it takes us past the next election."

Summers lives in an area of the province where at least two test wells have already been fracked.

Premier Darrell Dexter dismissed the election talk.

"On this decision, I don't really think it matters when there is an election. This is about doing a scientific review and coming up with the right decision on it based on the science."

A spokesman for the Calgary-based Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources, an industry advocacy group that promotes hydraulic fracturing, could not be reached for comment.

As of Monday, no fracking will be approved during the extended review, said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau.

Energy Minister Charlie Parker said the government wants to study reviews being drafted by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency and Environment Canada. As well, New York State, Quebec and New Brunswick are also studying the effects of fracking, he said.

"We think it's important to get the best possible information that's out there and make an informed decision after we've learned all that," said Parker. …