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N.S. introduces bill to ban import of waste water from shale-gas fracking

A pump jack draws oil from the ground near a hydraulic fracturing operation near Bowden, Alta.

JEFF MCINTOSH/The Globe and Mail

Nova Scotia won't be accepting waste water from hydraulic fracturing done outside the province under legislation introduced Monday.

Environment Minister Randy Delorey said the proposed ban is appropriate given there is a moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia while an independent review of the process is underway.

The review is being led by Cape Breton University president David Wheeler and findings are expected to be released in the spring.

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Delorey said the legislation shouldn't have to be amended once it's passed, regardless of whether the province decides to allow fracking.

"If other jurisdictions want to proceed with hydraulic fracturing and the waste byproduct, we believe it is their responsibility to deal with that waste themselves," said Delorey. He said Nova Scotia would be responsible for dealing with its own waste.

Delorey said the Environment Department is currently trying to deal with waste water from shale gas exploration in Kennetcook six years ago.

He said the department should be ready soon to announce what it will do with waste water contained in ponds in Debert and Kennetcook.

The initiative was welcomed by Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Atlantic chapter of the Sierra Club of Canada, who said she was excited that the government was paying attention to Nova Scotians who had signed a petition asking for an importation ban.

"This will help our entire region look at this issue because I do know there are companies that were speculating that they could count on Nova Scotia being a recipient of their fracking waste," said Fitzgerald.

She said she hoped it was a step on the road to banning fracking in the province altogether.

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"We are hoping for a ban, because we do know the issue of fracking waste can't be solved," she said.

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