Published Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Fracking has caused controversy in counties Fermanagh and Leitrim. (© UTV)
The SDLP minister claimed it would be reckless and irresponsible to agree to the controversial method of shale gas extraction until all the scientific evidence has been properly assessed.
He also offered reassurances to environmentalists stating that fracking could not take place in the region without his say so.
"At present there is no planning application for fracking in Northern Ireland. If and when any application comes in, it will be for me to decide, not David Cameron," said Mr Durkan.
"I am not going to make any decision until all the facts and scientific evidence are established. To do otherwise would be reckless and irresponsible," he said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Do we need to extract shale gas? Can it be done safely? Would it be done responsibly? These are the responsible questions. All facts are not in.
"The scientific evidence is far from being established. No fracking for Fermanagh, no fracking for Northern Ireland, as things stand," he added.
David Cameron earlier sparked controversy when he urged the public to get behind fracking.
The process, officially known as hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.
Supporters say it will help the UK become more energy efficient - but green campaigners claim it could cause earth tremors, water contamination and other environmental damage.
Mr Durkan, who only took up his post last month, said he had asked departmental officials to review existing research, analyse case studies from other parts of the world and to liaise with environment agencies in Britain and Ireland.
He added: "I am not though sitting on my hands here, simply waiting for a planning application to come in.
"I have asked my officials to get us to a position of best knowledge possible here."
A number of energy companies have expressed an interest in fracking parts of Co Fermanagh and across the border in Co Leitrim.
Environmentalists joined hundreds of farmers to protest against fracking during the G8 conference hosted by David Cameron in Fermanagh in June.
Residents in rural parts of north Antrim have also made known their opposition to fracking proposals.
Environmental charity Friends of the Earth have welcomed Mr Durkan's stance.
Declan Allison, the organisation's NI spokesman, said: "Mr Durkan's measured comments are in stark contrast to the 'drill baby drill' attitude of the Prime Minister.
"The questions the minister asks about safety and energy policy are the right ones, but sadly David Cameron's mind seems to be closed."
© UTV News