PEI UPSE Urges Government to Halt Hydro-Fracking
November 4, 2010
The Prince Edward Island Union of Public Sector Employees is concerned about the provincial government’s commitment to protecting the environment when it comes to natural gas exploration in Prince Edward Island.
Shelley Ward, PEI UPSE President, says “the provincial government has granted PetroWorth, a Toronto based oil and gas company, 100% exploration and development rights to 440,000 acres of land on PEI. That’s roughly one third of the Island,” says Ward. “You don’t see other provinces granting anywhere near this percentage of access to their land.”
Ward explains that “PetroWorth and its partner, Corridor Resources, use a technique called fracking to extract natural gas from wells. We are concerned about the safety of our water table here on PEI and believe that fracking is a potential threat to safe, clean drinking water for Islanders.”
Fracking is a process that involves injecting (under extreme pressure) a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into a natural gas well. The extreme pressure fractures the surrounding rock and tight sand formations creating fissures that enable a better flow of gas – and also the potential migration of chemicals and methane into the water supply.
“Canadian scientists and environmental experts such as Diana Allen, Simon Fraser University and Brad Walters, Mount Allison University have spoken about the risks associated with fracking in their own provinces,” says Ward. “Meanwhile, in PEI, the provincial government seems oblivious to what is happening as they have granted PetroWorth fracking access to most of eastern PEI!”
“Our Environment, Energy and Forestry Minister, Richard Brown, has recently signed on to a three-year national water strategy. He stressed the importance of clean, safe drinking water and the fact that in PEI our ground water is our sole water source,” says Ward. “Why then is Minister Brown at the same time courting natural gas companies like PetroWorth and Corridor Resources with lax environmental regulations that do not have safeguards in place for technologies such as fracking? Will the Minister stand up for Islanders and place a moratorium on this controversial practice until more is known about the risks, or will the province continue to gamble with our water supply and the health of Islanders?”
Please contact Mark Barrett at 892-5335 (or toll-free at 1-800- 897-8773) to arrange an interview.