Quebec Tightens Fracking, Drilling Rules

07 June 2018

The government of Quebec, Canada, announced plans to ban shale fracking “to ensure the safety of people and the protection of the environment.”

The announcement is part of the process of drafting regulations to implement the province’s Hydrocarbons Act. According the province’s website, their prepublication in the Gazette officielle du Québec will launch a new 45-day comment period. The amendments, resulting from an initial consultation held last fall, include:

  • that fracking in shale is prohibited;
  • that where permitted, fracking within the first 1000 m from the surface is prohibited regardless of the rock varieties in place;
  • no fracking activity will be permitted from the water environment, regardless of the geology that could be targeted by this type of activity;
  • that the exploration and production of hydrocarbons within a perimeter of urbanization will also be prohibited, and that an additional protection zone of one kilometer around this same perimeter will be added;
  • outside the perimeters of urbanization and protected areas, the separation distances will be doubled compared to public buildings, schools, hospitals, private residences and recreational tourism activities.

“The Québec government is putting in place an even more rigorous regulatory framework with respect to the management of hydrocarbon exploration, production and storage activities, notably by making significant changes to the draft regulations on which Quebecers have been consulted,” said Pierre Moreau, minister of Energy and Natural Resources. “The history of the energy transition is being written, and this story combines water protection and economic development. Now, in Quebec, the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons is prohibited, unless it meets the most stringent rules to ensure the protection of our environment.”


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