Last Tuesday the Quebec environment minister announced an absolute ban on fracking while the process is studied.
That move is looking like a stroke of genius today, as the U.S. Geological Survey is releasing a report showing an unprecedented increase in earthquakes occurring in the U.S. heartland.
The study identifies a six-fold increase of magnitude 3.0 or higher quakes that has occurred since 2001 in the U.S. heartland. Significantly, the scientists say that the cause of the increase in seismic activity is almost certainly manmade.
Quebec has been shown to have significant natural gas reserves in the St. Lawrence Valley that could potentially be accessed using the fracking technique. The process involes horizontal drilling and underground blasting with high pressure mixtures of waste water and chemicals to release gas trapped in shale formations..
There has been a moratorium in effect in Quebec since last March. However the new ban will include even experimental fracking designed to test the process. Testing will now occur only in the lab.
Last month, a series of small earthquakes in Ohio was blamed on fracking.