Canadian province to ban fracking

The government of Canadian province Nova Scotia will move this fall to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for onshore oil and gas drilling.

The announcement Wednesday came a week after a panel of experts organized by the province’s government recommended a ban while officials research the health, environmental, safety and economic implications of fracking.

“Nova Scotians have overwhelmingly expressed concern about allowing high-volume hydraulic fracturing to be a part of onshore shale development in this province at this time,” Energy Minister Andrew Younger said in a statement.

The ban is not permanent, but Younger did not say how long it would be in place, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Younger said Nova Scotia is an “energy leader” in Canada, mainly through offshore drilling. He predicted that the fracking decision would not change Nova Scotia’s standing.

He said the decision will reassure residents of the province who oppose fracking.

“People need to not have this threat hanging over their head that there might be hydraulic fracturing and they wouldn’t be involved,” he said, according to the CBC. “This way, people will know before it’s allowed — if it’s ever allowed — there will be a full debate in the legislature.”

The energy industry in eastern Canada opposed the moratorium, saying it would cause Nova Scotia to increasingly rely on energy from elsewhere.

The panel whose recommendations led to the ban also advised that local communities should be allowed to decide whether tracking would eventually be allowed within their borders.