Unanimous Decision! Municipal Council of the City of Gaspé appeals the court decision not allowing regulation to protect drinking water from the harm caused by hydraulic fracturing by lavantage.qc.ca, March 6, 2014
“For over four years we ask the Quebec government to update its laws and regulations on oil to ensure optimal and respectful development of this sector. Desiring to protect its population, with only very few legal ways to do this, the City of Gaspé drew on its powers and adopted a regulation to protect drinking water to its citizens. … However, despite our intense pressure and the ultimatum after receipt of the judgment on February 10, it is clear that we still do not have provincial regulations to protect drinking water to citizens. Gaspé closed a loophole that the government refused to. To decide whether or not we would call, we had to ask the question: do we let down the citizens by removing temporary protection offered to them or do we fill the regulatory gap that the government will not? Since the government has not yet adopted its rules, the council decided to maintain its rules until the government finally act, and thus bear the judgment on appeal “says the mayor of Gaspé, Daniel Côté.
“The judgment of 1st instance was divided into two parts. First, he mentioned that municipalities do not have jurisdiction to grant drilling permits. Secondly and most importantly, he recognized that municipalities had the legal authority to protect drinking of subsoil water, but in this case, the judge stated that the Town of Gaspé regulated item is regulated by the provincial government … which does not seem to be the case. In fact, it’s been 4 years since the Town of Gaspé asks the Quebec government to update its legislation and regulations on oil, especially for drinking water … if such a settlement existed in Quebec, we do happen not our time to claim it! “Says Mayor Daniel Côté.
“In our view, and with regard to the Moulin judge, the judgment of 1st instance obviously contains errors of fact and law. This decision not only effects with respect to the Town of Gaspé, but also with regard to nearly 80 other Quebec municipalities with similar regulations. Refuse to make that judgment on appeal would result in it, despite its apparent errors, jurisprudence and would have the force of res judicata. We sincerely believe that the discussion of municipal powers can not end well and we have a duty to the citizens of Gaspé and Quebec as a whole, to ask the Court of Appeal to get to the bottom of things and enlighten us in more detail on municipal powers in respect of the protection of their drinking water,” says the mayor of Gaspé.
“It is therefore with a heavy heart that we are forced to appeal and continue to assume responsibilities that we believe to be those of the Government of Québec. An appeal may take several months or even over a year. Once we have provincial regulations to protect drinking water, we intend to stop the discussion and leave Quebec to assume its obligations. But until then, we want to ensure legislation that protects the citizens’ water, and these regulations, will be Municipal yet,” said the mayor. [Google translate with Emphasis added]
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Snap from Lapress.ca/le-soleil
Areas permitted to oil and gas companies. Dark green are parks and protected areas. Map from Regroupement interrégional sur le gaz de schiste de la vallée du Saint-Laurent.