Despite Fredericton City Council’s resolution, the issue of shale gas is NOT closed.
Contrary to the Daily Gleaner editorial published on April 15th, City Council’s resolution to ban fracking does nothing. It only repeats what already exists as provincial policy. Provincially, natural gas industries are not allowed to drill and explore within a city without the city’s permission.
City council’s aim here was not to ban fracking in the city, but to make a cynical move to pre-empt shale gas as an election issue. They are hoping that with this (non)resolution, they can mislead people into believing that fracking will never happen in our city. They know that a majority of voters are against fracking in the city.
The resolution is worded so that “future councils can reverse it, should the need arise.” This is a totally ineffective resolution that leaves the city open to fracking in the future. Councillor Megarity insisted on the CBC that “No means no”. Actually, in this case, “No means No for now, until we give permission”.
Finally, it is impossible to trust this city council’s long-term position on fracking. After all, despite Mayor Woodside’s insistence that he is against fracking, it is under his leadership that the city voted against a province-wide municipal moratorium on fracking. This city council and mayor may refuse permission today, but I wouldn’t trust them to hold to that after elections are over.