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According to Simpson, the water licences were granted for use in hydraulic fracking. He says he had questioned Energy Minister Rich Coleman about the water pipelines at the end of the current legislative session and Coleman had promised an “extensive public consultation” process, as well as First Nations consultations before approvals would be given.

However, Simpson says the Oil and Gas Commission approved the pipelines and water licences were subsequently approved, before any consultations were carried out.

The water licences have been approved for Talisman Energy and the second licence for Cambrian Energy is expected to be approved by the end of the week.

The independent MLA is calling on the Province to specify a price for water used in fracking, to encourage a reduction in demand on freshwater resources.

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