The political debate over fracking in Canada has taken on a new urgency following a landmark report from a parliamentary committee.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Health, Safety and Environment (JSCHE) recommended on Thursday that the federal government ban fracking in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
The committee also recommended that a moratorium on fracking be imposed in the northern region of the country where oil and gas production is more prevalent.
The province of Alberta, which has been under a state of emergency for nearly a year, has already implemented its own moratorium, and in January the Saskatchewan government imposed its own temporary ban on fracking.
Saskatchewan has also had its own oil and natural gas moratorium since 2016.
The federal government has also suspended its own gas exploration and production program in the province.
Meanwhile, British Columbia is also planning to impose a moratorium, with the province also banning fracking in 2018.
The federal government, meanwhile, has announced it is withdrawing its support for the controversial project in Alberta.
The decision to withdraw support comes on the heels of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finding that fracking has no significant environmental impact.
The JSCHE report said the effects of the use of fracking on the environment are a “very difficult and contentious issue.”
“The report found that fracking does not produce significant emissions from its operations, it produces little or no CO2 emissions, and it does not increase water and land use, especially when compared to alternative energy sources,” the report said.
The government of Alberta is currently reviewing the JSCHA report to determine what actions it can take to protect the environment and promote development.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Alberta government said it would continue to work with the committee and work with stakeholders to address any concerns.
The decision to suspend fracking is “a step in the right direction, but it is not enough to ensure a sustainable future for Alberta’s economy and our economy in general,” the statement said.
“It is a good step in addressing the challenges that are facing the province, but we must remain committed to protecting Alberta’s environment and our natural resources and ensuring that we are able to deliver economic benefits to our citizens.”
“While Alberta remains committed to developing its oil and other natural gas resources responsibly, we will continue to make our contributions to the global economy, and Alberta’s prosperity, if and when we have the necessary regulatory and environmental approvals,” the Alberta statement said, adding that the province’s decision would have no effect on its ability to develop its oil sands.