Nova Scotia poised to outlaw fracking

The Nova Scotia Legislature has resolved to ban "high-volume, hydraulic fracturing" in Nova Scotia. On October 30, 2014, Bill 6, An Act to Amend the Petroleum Resources Act, received approval of the Committee of the Whole House to be passed into law on a future date.

Bill 6 will prohibit "high-volume hydraulic fracturing" in shale unless exempted by regulation for the purpose of testing or research. What exactly is "high-volume hydraulic fracturing" is to be make clear in future regulations.

This summer an independent panel of experts asked to review hydraulic fracturing by the Nova Scotia government recommend further study before the practice is allowed. The panel felt that it did not have enough information on the regional shales in Nova Scotia to decide if hydraulic fracturing should be allowed, and called for further research and a period of "reflection, dialogue and discussion".

Bill 6 will also authorize the Minister of Energy to conduct a review of "high-volume hydraulic fracturing" at a further date. The Minister will also have the power to review the prohibition on hydraulic fracturing provided consideration is given to the net benefit from hydraulic fracturing to Nova Scotians and social, economic, health and environmental issues.

This post was written by Alan Harvie ( or +1 403.267.9411)from Norton Rose Fulbright's Energy Practice Group.