Quebec Proposes Law to Ban Fracking for Up to 5 Years

Quebec Environment Minister Yves-Francois Blanchet introduced legislation that would ban hydraulic fracturing, drilling and testing for natural gas in the St. Lawrence River valley for as long as five years.

The moratorium will be in place until a new law governing the exploration and production of hydrocarbons takes effect, or for a maximum of five years, according to a copy of the bill posted today on the government’s website. The bill would suspend all existing licenses to drill for shale gas without compensation, according to the document.

Quebec’s Parti Quebecois government holds a minority of seats in the provincial legislature, meaning it needs support from at least one of the two largest opposition parties to pass laws.

Francois Legault, head of Coalition Avenir Quebec, the province’s second-largest opposition party, told reporters today in televised comments that the proposed legislation is “unacceptable.” Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard also opposes a moratorium, Radio-Canada reported.

Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet ruled out all shale gas exploration and production after the Parti Quebecois won the Sept. 4 election, saying the technology is unsafe.

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