Fredericton – Bill 62, an amendment to the Municipalities Act which would give unincorporated rural areas the same authority to vote on shale gas exploration as municipalities, passed second reading in the Legislative Assembly with the support of the government.
The bill did not, however, go through and pass the final reading before the end of the day which marked the end of the summer session of the Legislature. All bills not passed by the end of the session die.
Stephanie Merrill, spokesperson for shale gas at CCNB Action is encouraged by the fact that the government voted in favour of the bill.
“We are happy to see that the government is supportive of legislating equal opportunities to rural communities and municipalities in deciding on shale gas exploration” said Merrill.
Merrill said that the current governance structure in New Brunswick means unincorporated communities have no legal mechanisms that give them the authority to decide if shale gas development, and other mining and development projects, is something they feel fits with the vision of their community.
“Since the bill passed second reading, we fully expect the government to bring its own version of the bill back to the Legislature during the Fall sitting”, said Merrill.
CCNB Action has been advocating that all communities be given this authority to define the type, pace, scale and place of shale gas exploration and development.