Quebec Green Lights Shale Development in Latest Blow to Keep-It-In-The-Ground Movement
A recent trend of pragmatism trumping “Keep it in the Ground” extremism seems to have spread north of the border.
The Canadian province of Quebec announced last year that it would lift its longtime moratorium on fracking, and on Saturday Quebec’s legislature passed a bill that will officially allow the province to develop an energy plan that could unleash its potentially enormous untapped shale resources.
While the legislation, which passed on a 62-38 vote, is chiefly meant to implement Quebec’s clean energy plan, it also features provisions that will effectively end a fracking moratorium that’s been in place since 2011. Calgary-based Questerre Energy Corp. tweeted that its passage was a “triumph of science over ‘leave it in the ground’ lunacy.”
The provisions will allow the long overdue development of a very promising portion of Quebec’s share of the Utica Shale, concentrated along the southern flank of the St. Lawrence River. The play is believed to contain enough gas to meet Quebec’s demand for 100 years and holds the potential to be “… one of the biggest gas discoveries in North America,” according to Questerre CEO Michael Binnion.
This news comes just after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who recently approved the expansion of an oil-sands corridor that will carry more crude oil across the country, said of the KIITG movement’s criticism of his decision,
“There isn’t a country in the world that would find billions of barrels of oil and just leave it in the ground while there is a market for it.”
After years of delay, leaders in Quebec seem to have adopted the pragmatic view of their prime minister. And aside from the fact that science continues to show that fracking can be done safely, Quebec officials have probably noticed the folly of a policy that relies heavily on imported energy when the potential to develop home-grown energy is literally beneath their feet.
With another long, cold winter setting in, leaders in New York and Maryland might want to take note.