The Alberta Environmental Protection Agency has denied a request from environmental protection groups for a permit to frack for oil and gas in its area.
The group submitted its application for the oil and natural gas fracking permit to the province’s Environment and Climate Change department on Tuesday, arguing the drilling would be harmful to Alberta’s environment.
The agency says the province already permits fracking for oil, gas and coal in its own territory, which it also considers an environmentally sensitive area.
Environmental groups say they were disappointed the agency didn’t respond sooner.
The Alberta Oil and Gas Association said in a statement that the application was not submitted in good faith.
The group wants the department to consider whether the industry is needed in the province.
The organization says it will also file a legal challenge to the government’s decision.
The decision by the province was hailed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is part of a coalition of companies fighting the Alberta government’s oil and energy policy.
The oil and fuel industry has said that the province has the authority to approve fracking in the area and that the industry will work to protect the environment.
Alberta Environment Minister Keith Ashfield said in an interview Tuesday the province is committed to “protecting Alberta’s natural resources and our people and communities from any impact that oil and related extraction might have on the environment.”
“It is the province of Alberta’s responsibility to ensure the safety and security of our residents and our environment,” he said.
The U.K. oil and mining group Statoil has also said it is concerned about the proposed fracking.