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Hope for a fracking moratorium on PEI

There is potentially good news about a sought-after moratorium on fracking in Prince Edward Island.

CBC reports, “A legislative committee report is recommending a moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracking. The committee is also recommending a moratorium on off-shore oil and gas exploration and drilling in P.E.I. waters.” 

On November 26, the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry stated, “Your committee recommends that Government declare a moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing on Prince Edward Island.”

The news report highlights, “(Council of Canadians vice-chairperson) Leo Broderick, a member of the group Don’t Frack Prince Edward Island, said there is still work to be done. ‘We are going to continue to lobby for a permanent moratorium or a ban, and we expect that given this recommendation, government will be listening’, said Broderick. ‘At least some of the legislators are in agreement with most people in the province. We just hope that the premier and the cabinet are listening.'”

“The final decision for both (a moratorium on fracking and off-shore oil and gas drilling) rests with cabinet.” The Liberal Party under Premier Robert Ghiz holds 22 seats in the Legislature, while the opposition Progressive Conservatives hold 5 seats. In 2011, provincial Environment Minister Richard Brown said fracking would not be allowed if it’s found to be dangerous after a full environmental assessment.

Three companies – Toronto-based PetroWorth Resources, Halifax-based Corridor Resources Inc., and Calgary-based transnational BP Canada Energy Group ULC – all have permits for gas exploration in PEI. The PetroWorth contract covers 440,000 acres in the province. In October 2010, the company issued a media release stating they were “shooting a single 14-kilometre Vibroseis seismic line on its PEI property. Based on the interpretation of a previously shot 2-D seismic line, PetroWorth has identified a large and potentially attractive feature called the Albion Cross Prospect.” Back in 2007 an area near Green Gables was fracked which resulted in the spilling of radioactive material.

On January 22 of this year, Broderick joined with representatives from fishing and agricultural communities, watershed groups, unions, social and environmental justice groups, and individuals to form the province-wide group ‘Don’t Frack PEI’. The previous month Broderick told the Charlottetown Guardian, “We would like to form a province-wide, broad-based, diverse P.E.I. anti-fracking coalition, where we would put pressure on the provincial government to declare there be an absolutely permanent moratorium on fracking and oil drilling in the province.”

Further reading
Council of Canadians helps launch ‘Don’t Frack PEI’ coalition
PEI signs fracking contract with Petroworth