On December 3, 2014 7:24 pm
By Kevin Bissett
FREDERICTON — The premier of New Brunswick says his government will introduce legislation for a moratorium on fracking for shale gas during the fall legislative session that begins Wednesday and he wants it passed by Christmas.
The Liberals, who won a majority government in the September election, campaigned on a promise to bring in a moratorium, saying more information is needed before allowing shale gas fracking to continue.
Premier Brian Gallant said his government will refuse to approve permits for hydraulic fracturing if the legislation is not passed by the end of the year.
“I’m very optimistic we’ll be able to pass these things before the holidays and if not, we’ll certainly come back as early as possible in the new year to ensure that everything does get passed,” Gallant said in an interview.
Bruce Fitch, the Opposition Progressive Conservative leader, said he is reserving judgment until he sees the legislation but will oppose it if he believes it will harm the energy sector and other industries.
“If they’re going to put a moratorium in, we need to know what effect that’s going to have on business, on the environment, and on the health and welfare of the people of the province of New Brunswick. That’s a great debate and I’m anxious to get into it,” Fitch said.
“If we see the moratorium is shutting business down, we would prevent that from happening because we think jobs and the economy here in the province of New Brunswick are the No. 1 priority.”