© Frank Gale
Opposition Leader Dwight Ball, left, met with representatives of the Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awarness Group on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, including Wayne Hounsell, group chairman.
STEPHENVILLE — Dwight Ball made it clear Tuesday night that his Liberal Party supports an independent external review of hydraulic fracturing.
Fracking, a slang term for hydraulic fracturing, refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open.
The controversial method of this petroleum extraction now has a moratorium placed on it while the provincial government studies it.
The Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group has called for an independent external review of the practice, and public relations representatives from the group met for two hours with Ball, leader of the opposition, and Andrew Parsons, MHA for Burgeo-LaPoile.
Wayne Hounsell, chairman of the fracking awareness group, was pleased to hear Ball supports his organization’s position on the independent review. He said the group representatives were able to get a large number of points across on the issue.
Ball said the only way he could see hydraulic fracturing going ahead is if it is highly regulated, and currently the province is a long way from that.
“We want to make sure that if this is done at any time, that it’s done so that we’re not ruining the environment in our province,” Ball said Tuesday.
Though the meeting was with a local group from the Bay St. George area, Ball said it’s not an issue exclusive to the area, but a provincial issue as well.
He said the Liberal party is gathering as much information as it can on fracking.
“It’s all about education and awareness for us, making sure we have all the necessary information so that if fracking goes in the future, it would have to be in an environmentally sustainable fashion,” he said.
Ball said if his party forms the next government it would find out as much information as possible before making decisions that impact the people of this province.
“We will go wherever we can to get that information and if it means going to other provinces, we will,” he said.