N.B. fracking study calls for tight oversight before moratorium lifted

FREDERICTON -- A New Brunswick commission appointed to study if a government moratorium on shale gas fracking can be lifted says an independent regulator is needed first to rebuild public trust in how the industry operates.

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The commission also calls on the province to create a fresh relationship with aboriginal communities, and negotiate with them on a nation-to-nation basis over use of their lands.

Former clerk of the executive council Marc Leger, former University of New Brunswick president John McLaughlin and Cheryl Robertson, a former board chairwoman at the New Brunswick Community College, spent the past year on the three-volume study.

Energy Minister Donald Arseneault had said the province's fracking moratorium wouldn't be lifted until the government's five conditions can be met.

Those conditions include a plan for regulations, waste water disposal, a process to consult First Nations, a royalty structure and a so-called social licence.

Previous studies on shale gas development have been launched in New Brunswick, including one released in October 2012 that rejected a moratorium on fracking and called for a phased-in approach.



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