Province to Review Hydraulic Fracturing in Shale Gas Operations

Energy/Environment

April 4, 2011 3:49 PM

The province will review environmental issues associated with hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to free natural gas trapped in shale rock formations.

Energy Minister Charlie Parker and Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau announced today, April 4, that department officials will conduct a review of the technique.

"We have listened to the concerns of Nova Scotians over drinking water and protecting their communities," said Mr. Parker. "Given that we do not currently have any applications for the use of hydraulic fracturing of shales, nor do we anticipate any this year, this is a good time for us to do this work."

The team of senior technical and policy staff will identify potential environmental issues, determine how they are managed in other jurisdictions and identify industry best practices. The team will look at the reviews of other jurisdictions across Canada and the United States and bring in outside experts before making recommendations to improve regulations, where necessary.

"We understand Nova Scotians want assurances from their government that our water is safe and our environment is protected," said Mr. Belliveau. "Government recognizes the importance of the environment when considering shale gas operations, which is why we are doing this review. We look forward to hearing from Nova Scotians on this issue, and providing the information and answers they are looking for from government."

The province has received a number of letters from Nova Scotians about fracking, most of which concern protection of water. The review will examine:
-- the effects on groundwater
-- the use and effects on surface water
-- the impacts on land, such as potential soil contamination
-- waste management, including surface ponds of produced waters
-- management of additives in hydraulic fracturing fluids
-- site restoration
-- financial security and insurance
The public will have an opportunity to provide written comments related to the topic areas covered by the scope. After the review, recommendations will be submitted to the province.

The public will then have a chance to provide written comments on the recommendations.

The review is expected to be finished by early next year.


In British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, close to half a million wells have been hydraulicly fractured with no incidents noted.

Mr. Parker recently travelled to Oklahoma to tour oil and gas operations in action, including a hydraulic fracturing operation, and met with regulators and interest groups.

For more information on hydraulic fracturing and government's review, go to www.gov.ns.ca/energy/oil-gas/offshore/hydraulic-fracturing.asp and www.gov.ns.ca/NSE/




FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province will review environmental issues associated

with hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to free natural gas

trapped in shale rock formations.

     Energy Minister Charlie Parker and Environment Minister

Sterling Belliveau announced today (April 4th) that department

officials will conduct a review of the technique.

     Mr. Parker says that given that the province does not

currently have any applications for the use of hydraulic

fracturing of shales, nor do we anticipate any this year, this is

a good time for us to do this work.

     The team of senior technical and policy staff will identify

potential environmental issues, determine how they are managed in

other jurisdictions and identify industry best practices.

     Mr. Belliveau says the province looks forward to hearing

from Nova Scotians on this issue, and providing the information

and answers they are looking for from government.

     The public will have an opportunity to provide written

comments related to the topic areas covered by the scope or the

review and on recommendations to be presented after the review.

     The review is expected to be finished by early next year.

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Media Contacts: Tracy Barron
                Department of Energy
                902-424-1757
                E-mail: Barrontb@gov.ns.ca

                Karen White
                Department of Environment
                902-424-2575
                E-mail: whitekl@gov.ns.ca