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article imageQuebec to ban shale fracking, limit oil-and-gas exploration

By Karen Graham     Jun 10, 2018 in Business
The Quebec government will ban fracking for shale gas and impose stricter rules when it comes to the exploration, extraction, and storage of oil and gas.
The decision comes after public consultations were held last fall. The new measures will amend the Petroleum Resources Act passed in 2016.
The new measures will also ban drilling for oil and gas in 13 waterways across the province, including Lake of Two Mountains, Lake Memphremagog, and the St. Lawrence River.
“The safety of people, of goods and the protection of the environment, is a prerequisite,” said Quebec’s Minister of Natural Resources Pierre Moreau as he unveiled the new measures on Wednesday. "The story of the energy transition is being written, and these rules on hydrocarbons are part of that," Moreau said.
Under the plan, Moreau explained there will be a larger protection zone around schools, public buildings, and hospitals. In urban areas where gas and oil exploration s already prohibited, the government plans to now extend that ban to a one-kilometer zone around those municipalities.
"This regulatory measure means that any exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons will be strictly banned on the entire surface of the island of Montreal and the island of Laval," Moreau said.
Petroleum Resources Act strongly criticized
The draft regulations pertaining to the province’s Petroleum Resources Act (Bill 106) were announced in the Gazette officielle du Québec on Sept. 20, 2017. Needless to say, but they were strongly criticized by environmentalists and mayors as failing to protect water sources in the province.
This public denouncement of the draft regulations was responsible for the stricter rules being suggested in the act. The provincial government will be taking public comments on the proposed changes to the Petroleum Resources Act over the next 45 days.
And the proposed changes to the act are already facing some serious criticism. "The new rules still put at risk water and natural environments located near the next drilling sites to be authorized," said Nature Québec's executive director, Christian Simard, adding that the government is "on the wrong track."
Simard wants the Liberal government to hold off on passing any new regulations before the Oct. 1 provincial election, "to allow Quebecers to speak out on this important issue."
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