Other News

This is news from other groups. For news from Don’t Frack PEI, click here

News from New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance has been continually active since the threat of fracking started in NB, and we have been supporting their efforts.

Here is their latest report, including links to other recent national and international fracking news: http://dontfrackpei.com/PDFs/Update_no_8.pdf

The Journal of New Brunswick Studies recently published three comprehensive reports on the Shale Gas industry in NB, which contain a wealth of information on the industry, including much criticism of the ongoing government handling of the issues:





Reversing Course, E.P.A. Says Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that hydraulic fracturing, the oil and gas extraction technique also known as fracking, has contaminated drinking water in some circumstances, according to the final version of a comprehensive study first issued in 2015.

The new version is far more worrying than the first, which found “no evidence that fracking systemically contaminates water” supplies. In a significant change, that conclusion was deleted from the final study.

Read the report in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/reversing-course-epa-says-fracking-can-contaminate-drinking-water.html

Fracking company leaves province with the cleanup

Ten years after Nova Scotia enticed Triangle Petroleum to experiment with hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in Kennetcook, Hants County, it’s the province that is cleaning up the mess it  left behind. This summer the  oil company filed for bankruptcy in the US. Triangle Petroleum is still operating, but the government of Nova Scotia is left taking care of cleanup at the six well sites around Hants County. This includes finishing the extensive cleanup of two fracking waste holding ponds. See the whole story here, from The Nova Scotia Advocate: https://nsadvocate.org/2016/12/14/fracking-company-leaves-province-with-the-cleanup/

Democracy and the Environment

Majority governments on PEI have not served the environment well. Studies are done, reports are commissioned, presentations are made, recommendations come from standing committees, and the majority government of the day can take or leave them as it pleases. There is a better way. From October 29th to November 7th, everyone 16 and older can vote to change the way we elect our MLAs from ‘first past the post’ to a proportional representation (PR) system. If this happens, the legislature will become a place for proper debate, consensus decision making, real representation of the population, and it will be much more likely that our water and our environment will receive the attention that they deserve.

When you vote, there will be two ‘proportional’ options – and it’s important that you make these your first and second choices. To pledge your vote for proportional representation, and to receive updates on the campaign over the coming weeks, sign up today at www.PRonPEI.vote/pledge.

For more information on the voting process, including how to vote on-line or on the phone, visit http://www.yourchoicepei.ca and for more information on proportional representation, visit https://peipr.ca

Please spread the word – because in order for the government to get the message, we need people to get out and vote.

Climate Change Consultations in Charlottetown & Hunter River

July 13th in Hunter River, and August 10th in Charlottetown, our MPs are hosting riding-level public consultations on climate change. This has been co-organized by The Environmental Coalition of PEI, and will give Islanders a chance to voice their concerns, insights, ideas, and information regarding climate change and the national climate strategy. Proceedings in each riding will be recorded and fed into the federal information-gathering process. You may choose to observe the proceedings or to make a presentation yourself. Presenters will have up to five minutes to speak and voice any relevant information, comments, or concerns on behalf of the individual or a group. See the attached document for full information.

Rivers contaminated from thousands of fracking spills in North Dakota

Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk, researchers from Duke University concluded in a newly released peer-reviewed study. The sheer number of spills in the past several years is striking. All told, the Duke University researchers mapped out a total of more than 3,900 accidental spills of oil and gas wastewater in North Dakota alone. Read the story here: http://ecowatch.com/2016/05/09/radium-lead-fracking

More data on why Methane is not the answer to our green energy prayers

The latest news release from the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance highlights fracking, methane, and climate change. Among other facts, the article contains information on an EPA study that finds methane leaks to be way higher than previously thought, but of course the industry complains that fixing the problems will be too expensive for them to survive. Here is their news release: http://dontfrackpei.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Update-6.pdf

Cabot Oil & Gas ordered to pay $4.2m for negligence and contaminating water wells

Cabot Oil & Gas in Pennsylvania has been ordered by the US District Court to pay $4.2m for negligence and contaminating water wells, and causing significant harm to the eight plaintiffs, in a case which was originally highlighted by Josh Fox in his movie Gasland. There have been many hundreds of cases of well water contamination, this one being the latest, but in this case the trial verdict (see below) makes it absolutely clear that fracking does contaminate private water wells. Perhaps now, supporters of fracking will finally stop claiming that fracking doesn’t contaminate our drinking water?


New Brunswick Fracking Commission produces a good report

The NB Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing has just produced their report, and it is pretty good. The report can be found here: https://www.nbchf-cnbfh.ca/documents

Here are some of their enlightened findings:

“The Government of New Brunswick must move from project-specific consultation to ongoing collaboration because, as we learned through our work, New Brunswick residents are no longer satisfied with simply understanding government decisions; they want to be at the table. They want to be a part of the decision-making process.”

“On the surface, activist anger appeared to dominate the public discussion, but once we dove a bit deeper, we discovered the issue of shale gas was also rooted in weariness and fear felt by all sides that New Brunswick is incapable of change.”

“There is a disconnect between the Government of New Brunswick and residents around issues of economic development and land use.”

And a summary by the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA) picks our these recommendations that are made in the report:

“All policies must consider the impacts on climate change before proceeding, and must guarantee the ‘long-­term viability’ of our water and energy resources.”

“Environmental and energy policy should lead us into the new value-­added and knowledge-­based economy.”

“The relationship between governments and First Nations must be rebuilt from the ground-­‐up on a nation-­to-­nation basis.”

“Discussions with First Nations, municipalities and citizens, especially those bearing the risks, must be based on the two-­way flow of objective and scientifically valid information in order to do a valid risk/benefit analysis and to ask for social license.”

“A Health Impact Assessment must be included with the Environmental Impact Statement. Both must examine cumulative effects over space and time, and look beyond a particular project in isolation.”

“The mapping of aquifers and baseline data, such as water quality, air quality and health conditions, must be established before any development begins.”

The NBASGA press release can be found here.

Blue Drinks – March 9th

There will be a Blue Drinks networking event at Upstreet Craft Brewery in Charlottetown on March 9th, at 6pm. The event will be an informal networking session for those interested in, studying, or working on water issues on PEI. We will also discuss the Water Act consultations, the Environment Advisory Committee’s report, and the future of the Water Act. See here for more information.

Hydraulic Fracturing’s Intense Thirst

A peer reviewed study finds that “[fracking] operations may result in increased erosion and sedimentation,” as well as “increased risk to aquatic ecosystems from chemical spills or runoff, habitat fragmentation, loss of stream riparian zones, altered biogeochemical cycling, and reduction of available surface and hyporheic water volumes because of withdrawal-induced lowering of local groundwater levels.”

Read the article here: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33136-after-the-frack-hydraulic-fracturing-s-intense-thirst

All the facts about fracking impact aren’t in just yet

In its letter to the commission on hydrofracturing, the Progressive Conservative party asks for an explanation on how “clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on health, environment, and water can be obtained without hydraulic fracturing occurring in New Brunswick.”
It’s amazing that educated people would ask such a nonsensical question.
When confronting a high-risk situation only a fool would ignore the experiences of others who have faced and studied those risks. While geology may differ somewhat from place to place, the laws of physics, chemistry and human biology do not. Chemicals that cause disease in Pennsylvania will cause disease in New Brunswick. Toxic wastewater spills will kill aquatic life in streams regardless of location.
The Opposition wants to avoid discussing studies from places that already have shale gas, because those studies continually reveal problems.
For example, new population-based health studies found large increases in risk for premature births, high-risk pregnancies, low-birth weight babies with life-threatening conditions, and congenital heart defects when expectant mothers were exposed to gas wells. Increasing the exposure – more wells, closer wells – increased the risk.
Would the PCs have us ignore this science from elsewhere, and instead expose pregnant New Brunswickers to shale gas wells in order to run some home-grown experiments? Who will pick which citizens and areas get to be the guinea pigs? Will the PCs volunteer their wives, daughters and backyards?
This is just one example of the science being done elsewhere. The “Compendium,” a collection of all studies demonstrating the risks and harms of shale gas, has added over 100 new studies in just the last six months ( http://concernedhealthny.org/com  pendium  ).
This fact leads directly to the PCs sudden interest in the commission’s definition of social licence. The “working definition” provided by commissioner John McGlaughlin in a Telegraph Journal interview wasn’t detailed, but it largely resembles the international standard of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC): a process used in consultations between resource extraction companies and people affected by their activities.
Currently, there is no legal definition of social licence, but FPIC appears to one part of it, thus making some things clear.
Social license cannot be granted without going through the FPIC process. As Dr. McLaughlin noted, any consultations must be informed with all the existing knowledge that all sides bring to the discussion.
In the case of shale gas, the required knowledge for risk assessment is just starting to roll in. Over 50 per cent of all the available studies on the impacts of shale gas development have been published in just the past year and a half.
The health studies mentioned above are only the first of many that are necessary. There is currently no information on the health or environmental effects of hundreds of the chemicals that may be used in shale development, and there is no systematic monitoring of groundwater in any shale gas area.
The full list of unknowns is substantial and makes obvious that without this missing information, there can be no meaningfully informed consultations. Without consultations, there can be no meaningful consent (however defined), and thus, no social licence.
Also, social licence does not supersede the Charter of Rights’ guarantee of the security of the person, including the right to breathable air and drinkable water. These civil rights cannot be disposed of by commissions, executive orders, parliamentary votes, or a majority of voters in a referendum. So long as a credible threat to any portion of the citizenry exists, social licence cannot be granted.
Since the current state of the science surrounding shale gas is full of credible, identified or potential threats, plus a host of unknowns, it will be some time before social licence can even be discussed. The jurisdictions that extensively studied this science (New York, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Maryland, for examples) imposed bans or long moratoriums.
The quandary for the PCs and gas industry is how to get social licence, or bypass it, without actually having to examine the science in public. And with a growing worldwide recognition that climate change is an imminent threat to all nations, the challenge of getting social licence for any new source of unconventional fossil fuel will likely be nearly insurmountable.

Don’t Frack PEI sponsors the Federal Environment Forums

Election campaigns should provide opportunities to hear about issues that are important to all Canadians. To foster public awareness and debate on conservation and environment issues, a coalition of Island organizations is sponsoring Candidates’ Forums on the Environment in the Hillsborough, Malpeque, and Cardigan ridings. All events start at 7pm.

On Tuesday, September 29, the public is invited to hear the four Charlottetown riding candidates answer questions at the Holland College MacKinnon Lecture Theatre on Kent St. Joe Byrne of the NDP, Sean Casey of the Liberals, Ron MacMillan of the Conservatives and Becka Viau of the Green Party will have an opportunity to answer questions on national issues that impact Islanders, everything from addressing climate change to improving environmental legislation. Candidates will answer questions from some of the sponsoring organizations, after which there will be time for questions from the floor.

The Malpeque forum will be held at the Hunter River Community Hall on September 30. Liberal Wayne Easter, NDP Leah-Jane Hayward and Green Party Lynne Lund have agreed to attend. The Conservative candidate Stephen Stewart declined to participate.

On October 1, the Cardigan riding forum will be held at Red’s Corner in Poole’s Corner. NDP Billy Cann, Green Party Teresa Doyle and Liberal Lawrence MacAulay have agreed to participate but at this time the Conservative candidate Julius Patkai is undecided about participating.

No date has yet been scheduled for an Egmont forum.

The forums are sponsored by Blue Dot PEI; Citizens’ Alliance of PEI; Coalition for Protection of PEI Water; Cooper Institute; Cornwall and Area Watershed Group; Don’t Frack PEI; ECOPEI; Holland College Green Machine; Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group; Island Nature Trust; National Farmers Union, District 1, Region 1; Nature PEI; PEI Food Security Network; PEI Watershed Alliance; Pesticide-Free PEI; Save our Seas and Shores PEI; Sierra Club of Canada (PEI Group); and Trout River Environmental Committee.

For more information, contact Ann Wheatley at cooperinstitute@eastlink.ca or 894-4573.

EPA report says 1 to 12 percent of wells spill chemicals

A new US EPA report has some interesting conclusions about the problems with fracking. The issues that we have been hearing about are all true and this report, although its geographical scope is limited, confirms these problems. One example in the report: between one and twelve percent of wells result in spills of fracking chemicals. Read the executive summary here:


Please submit to the NL Fracking Review Panel

The Council of Canadians made a submission to the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel (NLHFRP) late last week, and invite you to do the same. DEADLINE is June 01, at noon NL time. Please take the time to send something in; it does not need to be detailed! Just something to express your position, how you feel about the moratorium in NS perhaps, how fracking in NL might impact you or what NL means to you (particularly the West Coast).

For those of you on social media, please take a few minutes to share this infographic as well, promoting participation in the submission process.

Here’s a note that we sent to our membership in NL that might also be helpful to share.

Thanks everyone! It would be great to have the whole of Eastern Canada frack-free in some way or other! (PEI, I’m looking at you ;))

Angela Giles
Atlantic Regional Organizer | Organisatrice régionale, Région Atlantique
The Council of Canadians | Le conseil des canadiens
211-2099 Rue Gottingen Street | Halifax, N.S. | B3K 3B2
902.422.7811 | 1.877.772.7811
cell. 478.5727 | twitter. @angiles

Fracking criticism spreads, even in Alberta and Texas – CBC

From the CBC: Canadian, U.S. studies raise concerns that chemicals used in process make people sick. Note that in this article, the Alberta Energy Regulator refutes the claims and states that “hydraulic fracturing [has been] in use in Alberta since the 1950s”. In fact, what we refer to as ‘fracking’, high volume slick-water hydraulic fracturing using horizontally deviated wells, wasn’t practiced in Alberta until 2011. For the full story see http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/fracking-criticism-spreads-even-in-alberta-and-texas-1.3002287