Con­ser­va­tives ask­ing for six-month wait on frack­ing ban

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - BY DAR­RELL COLE

SPRINGHILL - Cum­ber­land South MLA Jamie Bail­lie feels the prov­ince is mak­ing a costly mis­take by mov­ing quickly to band hy­draulic frac­tur­ing in Nova Sco­tia.

The PC Party leader brought for­ward a mo­tion last week urg­ing the provin­cial gov­ern­ment to sus­pend de­bate on ban­ning frack­ing for six months so it can re­spond to con­cerns on all sides of the is­sue.

“This is­sue is big­ger than frack­ing,” Bail­lie said on Mon­day. “Whether peo­ple know what frack­ing is or not, ban­ning it is wrong. It’s all about what kind of prov­ince we want to have. Are we just go­ing to ban things we’re not used to or are we go­ing to try some­thing new to cre­ate new jobs, es­pe­cially in ru­ral ar­eas?”

Bail­lie said he’s not in favour of un­con­trolled or un­reg­u­lated frack­ing and he would not support any­thing that would cause harm to the en­vi­ron­ment, but he sug­gested ban­ning frack­ing with­out get­ting all the in­for­ma­tion could be a missed op­por­tu­nity and send the wrong mes­sage to in­dus­try.

He said the prov­ince needs lead­er­ship on jobs more than any­thing - “re­spon­si­ble jobs that are re­spect­ful of our en­vi­ron­ment. You don’t get there by ban­ning new things be­cause you don’t know enough about them.”

The gov­ern­ment, he said, took three days to con­sider frack­ing be­fore de­cid­ing to ban it. He said that sends the mes­sage that Nova Sco­tia is closed for business.

The Tory leader said the Wheeler re­port sug­gested there is lots of on­shore gas and that as many as 1,500 jobs could be cre­ated if hy­draulic frac­tur­ing were done re­spon­si­bly. Bail­lie said Statis­tics Canada said Nova Sco­tia lost 9,000 jobs in the last year.

“We have a duty to look at it, we have a duty to try. If we ban it we will never know and that’s a shame,” Bail­lie said. “Ev­ery fam­ily in Cum­ber­land County knows some­one who is work­ing out west and a lot of those peo­ple who are work­ing out west are de­vel­op­ing on­shore gas, in­clud­ing hy­draulic frac­tur­ing. If you want a jobs plan for Nova Sco­tia let them do what they’re do­ing there, ex­cept let them do it here while mak­ing sure we get the en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions right as well.”

Bail­lie said he talked to a con­stituent who works with a company that’s frack­ing in North Dakota. The company has fracked more than a mil­lion wells with­out any prob­lems. He also spoke to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall on the is­sue and was told that frack­ing has cre­ated 35,000 jobs in that prov­ince since he be­came premier. He said new jobs are be­ing cre­ated, small towns are see­ing growth again and roy­al­ties are be­ing in­vested in schools, hos­pi­tals and roads.

“That’s what Cum­ber­land County and Nova Sco­tia are miss­ing out on,” Bail­lie said.

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