The New Democrats shared McGuinty’s concerns about negative environmental impacts from fracking, especially on drinking water.
“We’ve been watching what’s been happening across the country and across North America on the fracking issue, and one of the things we’re obviously concerned about is making sure that water tables are safe, making sure that the process doesn’t threaten other important environmental considerations,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
The Council of Canadians opposes fracking, and wants Ontario to follow Quebec’s lead and impose a moratorium on the practice. It warns fracking in Ontario could have serious long-term and cumulative impacts on the Great Lakes.
Quebec has a moratorium on fracking and all oil and gas exploration activities under the Saint Lawrence River, but other provinces, including BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, allow fracking.
At least 175,000 wells have been fracked in Canada, the majority of them in Alberta.
Nova Scotia had some fracking operations in 2007-08, but the NDP government has said it won’t approve any more hydraulic fracturing until a review of the process is completed in 2014.
A report done for the New Brunswick government, released in October, said the province should proceed with shale gas exploration but with a phased-in approach that would limit it to one to three sites to allow for research and development.
The BC Oil and Gas Commission said in September that a spate of small earthquakes in the province’s northeastern corner were caused by fracking in the Horn River Basin, a gas-rich shale formation that’s attracted some of the industry’s biggest players. The 38 quakes ranged between magnitudes of 2.2 and 3.8 on the Richter scale.