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PEI environment minister waiting on studies to make decision on fracking moratorium

Janice SherryThe Charlottetown Guardian reports, “There are no oil wells pumping away or gas wells flowing (in Prince Edward Island)… But there are some who worry that could change if the P.E.I. government decides to allow companies to use the exploration technique called hydraulic fracturing, which is otherwise known as fracking.”

“Although the province hasn’t taken a stance on fracking, in November the members of the legislative standing committee on agriculture, environment, energy and forestry recommended a moratorium on the practice. That recommendation came after the committee heard from groups with concerns about oil and gas exploration, including Don’t Frack P.E.I.”

“Don’t Frack P.E.I. has been pushing for a ban on hydraulic fracturing for about a year. Leo Broderick is one of Don’t Frack P.E.I.’s members and while the group was glad the committee recommended a moratorium, he said the problem is it just puts off a decision for the long term. ‘It’s a delay tactic and we need more than that’, he said. …Broderick said it comes down to whether Islanders trust elected officials to make what he sees as the right decision and deny any requests for exploration permits, if any companies ask for them. ‘Unless there’s a strong public outcry now I would say that they’ll make the wrong decision.'”

“Tyne Valley-Linkletter MLA Paula Biggar said Environment Minister Janice Sherry hasn’t sent a written response to the recommendation yet, but the committee will send her department a letter when it meets again in the next few months to get a formal response. …In an interview with The Guardian, Sherry said the government is still waiting for the results of studies in other jurisdictions about hydraulic fracturing before it takes a stance on the issue. Sherry also said since she became environment minister in November 2011, no one has given her or her department any indication they had an interest in undertaking fracking in P.E.I.”

“Since 2002 the province has issued seven on-shore permits for seismic surveys, but none of them have ended in production wells. Corridor Resources and PetroWorth were the last companies to do seismic testing and build exploratory wells. The last wells were built in 2007 and all of the onshore exploration permits have lapsed without any commercial production.”

“If the government does decide to impose a moratorium it won’t be alone in Canada where Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Quebec have all put temporary freezes on new permits while they study the issue further. Nova Scotia has also commissioned a study to look at the issue.”

Further reading
Council of Canadians calls on the P.E.I. government to ban fracking
Hope for a fracking moratorium on PEI
Council of Canadians helps launch ‘Don’t Frack PEI’ coalition