George Murphy Question Period (03.13.2013)

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for St. John’s East.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Environment and Conservation has a proposal from a company in Mount Pearl that deals with the storage of some radioactive material. The deadline for public comments is set for April 17. The project raises very many questions.

Does the minister plan on hosting a public forum as another way to consult with residents of the city to alleviate any of the concerns that may arise from this particular project? Will he be asking for an environmental preview report on it?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Conservation.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEDDERSON: Mr. Speaker, this government takes seriously any environmental issues and we made sure we put in place an environmental assessment that would deal with all concerns of everyone, an opportunity during the first stage of the assessment for anyone who had anything to say about the project or projects, to put it in writing, and to make sure it was put into place, and again, making sure the proponent also provided all the information that was necessary for any project to go forward.

We value our environment in Newfoundland and Labrador. We make sure as a government that we have in place the people and the experts to deal with it. I say, Mr. Speaker, I have confidence that we will do what we need to do to protect the people and the environment of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SPEAKER: The Member for St. John’s East.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

The Natural Resources Minister said in the House yesterday that the drilling program at Flat Bay was done under the confines of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act and the Petroleum Drilling Regulations, so let us talk about environment again for a second.

Can the minister commit to making changes to drilling regulations that will protect the public and our environment from the dangers of slick water fracking?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, this government supports economic development in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, this government supports exploration and development of a potential oil play for the people of Western Newfoundland and Labrador.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, in doing that we also will ensure that any exploration, any of the development takes place in accordance with rigorous environmental protection laws that we have in place.

Mr. Speaker, for years wells have been drilled in the world. I think there have been 2.5 million wells drilled in the world in the last while. There has been 175,000 wells drilled in Western Canada and they have all had hydraulic fracking. We have regulations in our act and in the regulations –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
Your time has expired.
The member has time for one quick question without preamble.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

If an EIS was done for the Flat Bay project, we cannot find it. Will the minister table the report if there is one available?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Conservation, for a quick response.

MR. HEDDERSON: Again, I say to the member opposite, you will not find it because it was not done. What was done was due diligence on behalf of Natural Resources under the act which made sure that there was no environmental damage done. Anything that was done at that particular time was done under strict guidance and strict regulations.

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