Joe Oliver: Nova Scotia’s fracking ban is a ‘lost opportunity’

Federal finance minister says fracking has been occuring safely for 50 years, ignoring that ban is only on high-volume extraction

Brennan Linsley/AP

Brennan Linsley/AP

TORONTO – Nova Scotia could be missing out on an economic opportunity by banning high-volume hydraulic fracturing, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver warned Thursday after the province decided to indefinitely prohibit fracking for onshore shale gas.

Oliver argued that fracking has been going on in several provinces for decades without any contamination of drinking water.

However, he didn’t point out that the Nova Scotia ban specifically applies to high-volume fracking, which requires far more water than conventional fracking and has been around for less than a decade.

“Fracking has been going on in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan for over 50 years,” he said at a news conference in Toronto. “There’ve been 175,000 wells drilled using fracking and not a single case of drinkable water contamination…

“So the record is long, it’s clear, it’s unambiguous and it’s unblemished.”

Related from Maclean’s:

The Nova Scotia government announced Wednesday it will ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing for onshore shale gas, saying residents have been clear that they are not comfortable with the practice. The Liberal government cited a study by Canadian scientists that concluded significant uncertainty remains on risks to the environment and human health despite fracking’s potential economic benefits.

The decision prompted criticism from industry groups, which insist the process is safe and could bring big financial payoffs.

Oliver echoed that sentiment.

“When a government steps back from the responsible development of its resources and that development doesn’t create an environmental risk, there are economic consequences inevitably to that and there’s a lost opportunity,” he said.

A two-year moratorium on fracking was put in place by the previous NDP government in 2012 as public protests grew in Nova Scotia and in neighbouring New Brunswick.

Fracking is a process that forces pressurized water and chemicals into layers of rock to release trapped oil and natural gas.


Joe Oliver: Nova Scotia’s fracking ban is a ‘lost opportunity’

  1. Hey Joe, (aka Mr. Dressup),
    even the Scotians know that Corporate sludgefunders like you and your corp lobbyists, just want to run away with all the profits anyway, giving nothing back to N.S.
    So it’s not their “lost opportunity”, it’s your’s.

  2. Easy solution.

    Governments should estimate the amount of revenue that would be lost by NOT developing resources, and subtract this from a provinces Equalization payout. Quebec has been refusing to develop its resources for years…..most likely because they like to get the “free Money” from the rest of us, with the expectation that once they seperate, they can develop the resources and not have to pay any of it back.

    It is not a surprise that provinces which refuse to devlop their resources, are the same ones who receive equalization. If that is their decision, then let them face the consequences of their actions.

    No play….no pay.

    • How about the NWT, resource development is going full bore, whether the residents want it or not. Fracking is happening in isolated communities that have no permanent roads, no environmental watchdogs and no infrastructure to handle spills or other situations that may arise. As a Territory we get very little in return other than empty grocery shelves (the camps can clean out our small stores in no time), winter roads that are overly congested and beat to crap before the season is half over and increased costs. There is no benefit for the residents, very little employment opportunities, very little cash coming back to the Territory and a lot of abandoned sites that require many thousands of dollars to clean up. Petrochemicals is not where our future lies, we should be world leaders in solar, wind and renewable research but the Harpocrite shuts that down because that is not where his power lies.

      • OnceProud…

        You bring up a good point. Regions without proper infrastructure have a much more difficult time economically. In the cases of Quebec and NS however, all of the required infrastructure is there.

        As for employment opportunities in the NWT…it’s getting better, as your leader is doing what he can to boost the local economy. The problem is not the lack of jobs, it is the lack of training and qualification of NWT citizens. You can create good jobs by creating an economy, but you cannot create workers to fill the positions if the citizens don’t have the education or experience to fill the positions. The goal is to train the local folks, so you don’t have to bring in educated folks and engineers…because you’ll already have them.

        Of course, if you are one of the “greenies” who see any resource extraction as corporate evil….then you can continue to live poor. Just stop whining about it.

  3. I suppose having a government actually listen to the people who elected them is a very foreign idea to Mr. Oliver and his government.
    Mr. Oliver conveniently doesn’t mention that the ban applies to high volume extraction, which hasn’t been proven safe. I applaud the Government of Nova Scotia for doing what the residents wanted done.

    • Patriciats:

      On that we agree. If the people don’t WANT certain activities in their area…….well then of course the Goverenment (at any level) should respect that. My point, is that if regions don’t want certain activities that may create wealth, then they shouldn’t whine about not having a stronger economy, or having jobs. If you make a decision, you should then have to live with the consequences. You can’t say “STOP DOING THIS”…..and then complain when the investment stops.

      Now….if only Dalton McGinty, Kathleen Wynne, and the Liberals felt the same way about this as you and I did….we wouldn’t be stuck with all of these useless windmills.

      How do you feel about the Green Energy Act patriciats? The only folks who were calling for it were the politicians and the greenies. Of course, the fact that certain Liberals made out like bandits on the contracts doesn’t really come into play does it?

      Are you concerned that the majority of residents in the areas these windmills sit didn’t want them? Or does that not apply to Liberals?