PEI Water Act: bans fracking, high-capacity wells - studied

PEI Water Act: bans fracking, high-capacity wells - studied

Postby Oscar » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:47 am

Draft PEI Water Act proposes ban on fracking, leaves question of high-capacity wells unanswered

[ ... unanswered ]

November 23, 2017 - 7:47 pm

(PHOTO: Leo Broderick and Maude Barlow have highlighted the need to protect water in Prince Edward Island.)

Charlottetown-based Council of Canadians chairperson Leo Broderick commented this past spring on the draft Water Act that had just been released by the provincial government of Prince Edward Island.

At that time, Broderick expressed concern that there was no direct reference to fracking in the draft text of the legislation.

The draft was released in mid-March after a first round of public consultations.

In October 2015, Broderick presented to the PEI Environmental Advisory Committee as it gathered input for this draft Act. He raised concerns at that time about fracking, bottled water takings, the need to recognize water as a human right, and the need to legislate a ban on deep well irrigation to prevent long-term groundwater depletion in the province.

The Guardian reported this past spring, "The provincial government is inviting Islanders to comment on the first draft of its proposed Water Act [in a second round of both in-person and online consultations]."

Now, the Don't Frack PEI coalition says, "The Prince Edward Island Water Act, released today as a first reading in the legislature, includes a prohibition on hydraulic fracturing. We need time to study the exact implications of the legislation [but] one of the documents issued by the government today states that saying NO to hydraulic fracturing addresses a key public concern. Quite right!"

And late this afternoon, the CBC reported, "Calling it 'an historic day for Prince Edward Island', [the province's environment minister] Robert Mitchell unveiled the 46-page document, detailing how the province plans to protect the provincial water supply. Since draft legislation was made public back in March, a prohibition preventing hydraulic fracturing on P.E.I. has been added to the bill."

As for the other issues raised by Broderick, CBC notes:
- "The act prohibits water exports from P.E.I."
- "It will require all wells with a capacity greater than five gallons per minute — which is just above household size — to have a permit. Currently, permits are only required for wells above 50 gallons a minute."
- "One thing Mitchell said hasn't been dealt with in the legislation is how to proceed on the issue of high-capacity wells. The province enacted a moratorium on allowing new high-capacity wells for irrigation in 2001. 'We are missing a piece of science that we currently are having work done … In the next number of months we'll be able to ... say 'this is where we're moving with high-capacity wells.'"

The article adds, "Mitchell said the research [on high-capacity wells] will be used to develop regulations for the act, and the regulations will be put forward for public consultations in the new year. He said the act won't come into effect until the regulations are complete — about a year from now.​"

Broderick and the PEI chapter will continue to monitor this situation.

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