WHAT IS FRACKING and WHY should Islanders be concerned. To follow is an recent article written by Tony Reddin.
Environmental regulation in Canada and the United States has only started to take into account the use of fracking for natural gas production. As there is no national regulation, some jurisdictions are creating their own. The NY Legislature has set a moratorium on fracking of horizontal shale gas wells until July 1, 2011 in order to conduct a comprehensive review of the technology.
Natural gas companies use many types of chemicals with this drilling technology, many of them toxic. In other jurisdictions complete disclosure of the chemicals and their amounts have not been given to regulators and the public. These chemicals tend to remain in the ground once the fracturing has been completed, raising concerns about long-term contamination. In Canada, many of the chemicals in fracking fluids are not listed in the federal drinking water guidelines used by municipalities, meaning their presence in drinking water would not be measured, tested, or reported.
We in the Sierra Club are concerned about the threat that drilling and fracking may pose to the safety of our groundwater and surface water on PEI, and believe there is potential that the chemicals and natural gas could seep into the water supply. There are also potential health threats from the toxic waste water produced by this drilling, and possible gas well blowouts.
We have asked the Ministers of Energy for all the Atlantic provinces and the federal government to put a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing of underground shale for natural gas exploration, until environmental and regulatory issues can be properly examined by government and the public. We urge all other Atlantic Canadians who are concerned about this issue to contact their elected representatives right away.
The gas exploration company PetroWorth has applied for renewal of its mineral permits for 440,000 acres in eastern PEI.
For more information on fracking, please visit www.atlantic.sierraclub.ca
Vice-chairperson for the Atlantic Chapter of Sierra Club Canada