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PQ hints at long-term shale gas ban


October 1, 2012
By The Canadian Press

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Oct. 1, 2012, Quebec – Quebec’s new natural-resources minister says she
doesn’t believe fracking can ever be done safely.

Oct. 1, 2012, Quebec – The new Parti Québécois government hasn’t wasted any time hinting about a long-term ban on the shale gas industry.

Quebec’s new natural-resources minister, Martine Ouellet, says she
doesn’t believe the controversial method of extracting natural gas from
shale, known as “fracking,” can ever be done safely.

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She made the remarks Thursday on her way into her first cabinet meeting, less than 24 hours after she was named to cabinet.

“I don’t foresee a day when there will be technology that will allow
safe exploitation (of shale gas),” Ouellet said in Quebec City. "Our position is very clear: we want a complete moratorium, not only
on exploitation but also on exploration of shale gas. We haven’t changed
our minds.”

Under political pressure, the former Liberal government halted
shale-gas exploration last year in the fledgling industry to conduct
more studies on the ecological risks. The environmental-review process
was expected to take a couple of years.

Critics fear the method of unlocking natural gas from shale
formations will create serious environmental problems — including the
contamination of drinking water.

The industry insists that extraction chemicals are only used in small
doses and the chances of them seeping into the environment are very
slim.

Analysts, meanwhile, have called shale gas a potential economic game-changer.

The industry has boasted that the provincial government, which is
saddled with public debt, would reap annual royalties of $1 billion from
shale gas development.