Public scrutiny has finally forced the government to announce a public consultation (press release here - in French) on shale gas development in Québec. This is essential, as Québec mining law is currently undergoing a reform process. However, it remains a minor victory in a political context where the government pays lip service to participation in order to placate the public.
Le Devoir has excellent coverage on this issue (articles here - in French). A substantial article on hydraulic fracturing regulation in the U.S.A. by Steve Kellman and Molly Ramsey for the Circle of Blue offers a prospective overview of the issues we will face once the government gives the green light to the industry.
For those who doubt that the patterns we see down South will repeat themselves in Québec, here is an interesting detail in the Circle of Blue article. In 2008 the Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection declared about hydraulic fracturing: «What do you have to be afraid of? It’s only sand and water.» As reported in a previous blog at the beginning of 2010, the provincial government declared that only sand and water were used in Québec. In this respect, Jean Baril provides a legal perspective on the loopholes blocking adequate public information on fracking (article here - in French).