Quebec seeks formal ban on shale gas exploration ahead of regulatory moves2/7/2013
MONTREAL – The Quebec government says it will introduce legislation to formally impose a moratorium on shale gas activity in the province as it continues to cast doubts about the social acceptance of hydraulic fracturing.
Environment minister Yves-François Blanchet made the announcement Wednesday, saying the ban will hold until the government introduces a new legislative framework governing hydrocarbons.
Quebec is also transferring the mandate for a strategic environmental evaluation of shale gas previously held by a chosen committee of experts to the government’s own environmental review agency, the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement.
The moves were expected.
“Only science, transparency, the respect of community interests and the existence of a viable business plan will allow the shale gas issue to achieve social acceptance,” the minister said.
Questerre Energy Corp., a key shale gas developer in Quebec, noted that it has legally issued exploration licenses the government is now seeking to undo.
“We’ll wait to see what the actual legislation says and then we’ll see what it does to my optimism” about the future, said CEO Michael Binnion.