What is Fracking?

Fracking, or Hydraulic Fracturing, is a method of gas (or oil) extraction that poisons the air, uses vast quantities of water, blights the landscape, causes massive truck traffic, and leaves toxic chemicals in the ground which will eventually contaminate drinking water. It is banned in many jurisdictions, and we are determined that it shall not come to Prince Edward Island. There are sustainable alternatives, and the geology of PEI is simply not suited to this dirty and unsustainable technology.

All four neighbouring provinces currently don’t allow fracking. For some reason, PEI does not have a moratorium.

Read our backgrounder on fracking, and see a picture showing the fracking process, and see a photo of what a fracking site looks like. If you want a story of what can go wrong, read this.

See our November 2015 presentation to the Water Act panel, and our 2013 presentation to the Standing Committee, which explains why fracking should not be allowed on PEI. And read our plan to power PEI using wind, water, and sun.

And here is a cartoon explanation of fracking from the UK, and here is a really neat animation of the fracking process.

Here is the latest US EPA report on the effects of fracking.

LeasesThumb This map shows the exploratory leases for PEI that were granted to oil and gas companies in the recent past. Most residents aren’t aware that these leases even existed. We asked the minister a series of questions regarding leases, and the responses can be found here.
NBleases This map shows the leases for New Brunswick, and the sites where fracking has happened or was planned until their moratorium was issued. Stoney Creek near Moncton has been drilled for oil and gas for over a century, and the drinking water there is contaminated – but it’s unclear how much of that contamination is due to recent fracking activities.


Facebook sites for PEI: PEI Against Fracking    Don’t Frack with our PEI Water

Geomorphologist Dr Scott Rice-Snow studied inland oil development in New Mexico. Notes from his UPEI presentation can be found here. Intact oil well casings need to last forever to protect the drinking water supply. To quote Dr Rice-Snow, “Accomplishing that’s a bit of a stretch”. His notes on the geology of PEI as related to hydraulic fracturing can be found here. We share our geology (and our aquifer) with parts of NB which are slated for fracking, as you can see on this map.

Here is an article in The Guardian, where the then Energy Minister said about fracking “if it has any potential to hurt our groundwater or to hurt the environment or hurt the fisheries in any ways, we’re not going to allow it to happen”

Feb 5th 2013 – Auditor of Canadian Environmental Regulations is worried about the rise of fracking. “environmental protection may not be keeping pace with resource development.” Read the article here

Inverness County in Nova Scotia has recently passed a by-law to protect residents against the detrimental effects of fracking. Here is the by-law, and here are some notes explaining the key points of the by-law. This by-law could be adapted for municipalities on PEI.

A poll in Nova Scotia found that 69% of people support keeping the ban on fracking in place,  unless the independent review finds there is no risk to drinking water, human  health, the climate or communities. Read more here.

New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer issued this report in 2012 with “Recommendations Concerning Shale Gas Development in New Brunswick”.

Dr. Tony Ingraffea covered all the issues, and proposed solutions, in a talk at Cornell University. See the highlights here. And as for fracked gas being a ‘bridge to a sustainable future’, Dr. Ingraffea exposes that lie in this New York Times article.

The Institute of Science in Society, in a report published in Feb 2013, points out the potential risk factors and states that “health and environmental risks including pollution to ground water remain to be addressed

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection243 cases where private water supply was impacted by oil and gas activities, and a related news article.

EarthjusticePennsylvania fracking accidents map.

Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy636 peer reviewed papers on Hydraulic Fracturing.

Report of the Nova Scotia Independent Review Panel on Hydraulic Fracturing.

Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact CommissionFracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry.

National Ground Water Association JournalPotential Contaminant Pathways from Hydraulically Fractured Shale to Aquifers, by Tom Myers.

Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy EnergyFluid Migration Mechanisms, by Anthony Ingraffea.

Concerned Health Professionals of New York – a compendium of 340 documents identifying problems with Hydraulic Fracturing.


Google it yourself

You can search for fracking well casing failure or any such terms, and find information from industry, academia, business, and environmental groups – and all have different numbers and all tell different stories. Even the articles by industry proponents admit that fracking is only safe if drilling is done properly, or if there is adequate oversight, and even they admit that there will be drinking water contamination sooner or later – it’s just a matter of when. See for yourself.


PEI organizations with serious concerns about fracking

PEI Watershed Alliance – 2010 letter to the Minister of Environment, Energy & Forestry and a 2013 Letter to the Minister of Environment, Labour & Justice

Island Nature Trust The Island Nature Trust’s position on fracking

PEI National Farmers UnionLetter to the Minister of Environment, Labour and Justice

PEI Union of Public Sector Employees  – PEIUPSE urges government halt to hydrofracking

Latin America Mission ProgramMedia Release concerning fracking

Diocese of Charlottetown: Christian Life Community

Cooper InstituteLetter to the Minister of Finance, Energy & Municipal Affairs


Alternatives to Oil & Gas

Why not Natural Gas? – a discussion by Don’t Frack PEI

Providing all energy with Wind, Water and Sunlight – a presentation by Matthew McCarville

How we can move to 100% renewable energy by 2050 – a video by Mark Jacobson

New York’s fossil fuel: Gone with the wind – Press Release


Fracking in Hansard

April 3rd 2013, page 24 – Hon. Janice Sherry responding to questions from The Hon. Member from Souris-Elmira.
Minister: <public consultation before fracking is> part of the process. It would be part of the process as it was for the realignment of the Trans-Canada Highway. You have to have the public consultation prior to the final approval. It’s part of the process.
Mr. LaVie: Well, Plan B, you never listened to the public.


Other stories in the PEI Media

Islanders told to pressure government on fracking issue. The Guardian, 13th December 2012
Saying no to fracking. The Guardian, 21st March 2013
Wise to oppose fracking on PEI. The Guardian, 23rd March 2013
Will shale gas fracking be allowed in PEI? The Guardian, 25th October 2013
Rhetoric bought, paid for by fossil fuel industry. The Guardian, 2nd November 2013
Corporate Propaganda. The Guardian, 2nd November 2013 (in response to this article)
Fracking moratorium sought by P.E.I. group. CBC PEI, 7th November 2013
Speakers Express Concerns about Fracking. Journal Pioneer, 22nd Jan 2014
Anti-fracking group begins grassroots campaign in P.E.I. The Guardian, 3rd May 2014


Other links

PEI Citizens Alliance – www.watchpei.org

Council of Canadians fracking site – http://canadians.org/water/issues/fracking/index.html

Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition – http://www.nofrac.com

Know Shale Gas NB – http://knowshalegasnb.ca

New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance http://www.noshalegasnb.ca

Fracking and Health Awareness Project – http://frackingandhealth.ca

Conservation Council of New Brunswick – http://www.conservationcouncil.ca/our-programs/freshwater-protection/shale-gas-alert/

First Nations Chiefs In Assembly – resolution calling for a fracking moratorium



Artists Against Fracking – Don’t Frack My Mother

Teresa Doyle / Eliza Knockwood – Let’s Ban the Foolin Fracking

Carl Cameron (video) – The Rabbit

Alex Hickey – You Can’t Be Rich (On Shattered Land)

Joe Wiseman and Chad Ivany – Dont’cha Go Frackin’ Round Here


To find out how you can help, click here


This is a fracking site in Texas
(Click for a larger image)