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.
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.