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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

UN recommendation urges Gros Morne buffer zone to prevent fracking

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will vote in June on a recommendation for a buffer zone to protect Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland after fracking proposals stoked fierce debate.

United Nations experts advising the committee say Canada should be encouraged to protect the park's natural beauty from oil extraction.

That recommendation and others are included in a package posted to the UN's World Heritage Centre website.

The committee called off a monitoring mission to assess fracking risks after Newfoundland and Labrador froze related applications last fall pending a review.

Alison Woodley of the watchdog group Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society says a buffer zone would be a big step toward preserving Gros Morne's world heritage status.

Gros Morne became a UNESCO site in 1987 but plans to search for oil using hydraulic fracturing near the park raised concerns about the environment and tourism.

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