Questerre to Challenge Quebec Anti-Fracking Regulations
The government of the Canadian province of Quebec announced August 17 it was proceeding with the enactment of its new Petroleum Resources Act and moving forward with new regulations that will ban fracking for natural gas in most areas of the province.
The new regulations, announced in June, will come into effect within 15 days of their publication in the Gazette Officielle du Quebec. But Questerre Energy, which has significant shale gas resources in the St Lawrence Lowlands of Quebec, said August 20 it intends to challenge the legality of the regulations. It made those legal points in a brief filed during the comment period for the proposed regulations, and will now follow through with legal action against the regulation.
“As detailed in the brief Questerre filed with the government… these specific restrictions in the regulations are ultra vires, or beyond the legal power and authority of the government, contrary to the independent scientific studies, and moreover they do not meet the consultation requirements detailed in the Quebec government's green book for social acceptability,” Questerre said in a statement. “On these technical grounds, Questerre has given legal counsel instructions to initiate proceedings that challenge the validity of these restrictions, requesting they stay and ultimately set aside these specific regulations within 15 days of the government publishing the regulations in the official Gazette.”
The government did not say when the regulations would be published in the Gazette.
The regulations prohibit oil and gas exploration and production activities – including fracking – within 1 km of a “water environment”, the government said in a statement. Considering that the average spacing of “water environments” in the province is generally about 2 km, “it will now be prohibited to carry out exploration or production activities in a water environment and difficult to perform in the terrestrial environment,” the statement said.