TORONTO - The Ontario government is warning energy companies it is not ready to allow the controversial practice called fracking to extract natural gas or oil.
Premier Dalton McGuinty says no private companies have approached the province to talk about fracking or hydraulic fracturing, which uses chemically-treated water under extreme pressure in drill holes to fracture shale and release gas or oil.
McGuinty says he's heard concerns the practice can pollute water supplies, and would want to see scientific evidence fracking is safe "before giving it a thumbs up or a thumbs down."
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she's concerned about negative environmental impacts from fracking, especially on drinking water.
Opponents of fracking, including the Council of Canadians, say companies including Mooncor Oil and Gas and Dundee Energy are buying up land in southern Ontario that could be used for fracking.
Mooncor says only that it has not announced any plans to frack in Ontario.
Quebec has a moratorium on fracking and all oil and gas exploration activities under the Saint Lawrence River, but other provinces, including Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Alberta, allow fracking.
The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission said a spate of small earthquakes in the province's remote northeastern corner were caused by fracking in the Horn River Basin, a gas-rich shale formation that's attracted some of the industry's biggest players.