We Are Fracking Out!


There are lots of ways to get involved with your friends and family in helping to stop fracking. We have created an activitst's toolkit that points to all kinds of ways you can take part - whether you are someone who likes to be at the front of the parade or if you are behind the scenes making sure the coffee gets made for a community meeting  - every step you take is important and needed!

Check out the toolkit here for ideas


Other Updates?

In Nova Scotia, the panal reviewing fracking for the provincial government held a round of public meetings in July 2014. Recommendations on fracking are expected at the end of August. Although from what we have heard so far the panel is ignoring evidence of the unacceptabel risks that fracking poses, the hearings showed how informed and concerned the public is on this issue. We need to keep the pressure up!

In New Brunswick, we are on the verge of a provincial election in which fracking will be a key issue. Meanwhile, those impacted by the threat of shale gas have come together to launch a People’s Lawsuit to question the right of fracking companies and government to explore for shale gas without consent of people living on the land or considering their right to a clean and healthy environment.

On August 11, 2014. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Natural Resources announced he has heeded our advice (and that of a very active coalition of citizens groups!) to do an independent review of fracking since their internal review was “inconclusive.” While we believe a ban on fracking is justified based on the evidence available to all of us, this is a positive step if the panel is truly independent and public consultations are part of the process – and the existing moratorium on fracking stays in place!


Please read on to learn more about fracking...

What is Fracking?

One method of natural gas exploration, hydraulic fracturing (or, fracking) poses a growing threat to Canadian fresh water resources here in Atlantic Canada. Fracking involves the drilling of a bore vertically and horizontally into shale or coal-bed deposits. The vertical bore is extended horizontally into the shale bed to maximize shale use. The tail of the horizontal pipe is perforated, allowing for the injection of fracking fluid into the shale bed. Sandor ceramic beads suspended in the fluid (called "proppants") hold open the cracks in the shale bed, allowing the natural gas to navigate back to the surface for recovery.

The fracking fluid typically ~98% freshwater and proppant (sand or ceramic beads) and 1-2% chemical additives. The chemical additives have functions ranging from friction reducers, biocides, and scale inhibitors; many of which are toxic to human and animal consumption.

Want to know more?

We have creates the Guide to Hydraulic Fracturing in Atlantic Canada. This guide outlines the fracking process, the risks fracking poses (to air, water, and our economy), as well as a look at fracking in the four Atlantic Provinces.


Fracking Risks

What does fracking do to our water?

Fracking has implications for both the purity and quantity of freshwater:

  • Water quantity: A fracking operation in Two Island Lake in B.C. requires a projected 2.12 million cubic metres of fresh water: the extraction of groundwater for fracking has caused a drawdown in surface waters.
  • Water quality: Chemicals contained in fracking fluid can enter the water table, with the potential for groundwater and surface water contamination.

What does fracking do to our air?

The fracking process impacts local air quality as well as contributing to the atmospheric greenhouse gass (GHG) content. Locally, large volumes of diesel trucks volume clogs the roads of communities as they transport equipment, millions of litres of water, and thousands of litres of chemicals to the fracking site. The diesel fumes from these trucks in conjunction with diesel powered drilling rigs reduce the ambient air quality of the region. The fracking rigs themselves release large amounts of GHG's from escaped and intentionally vented methane.

Where is fracking happening in Atlantic Canada?

Current fracking operations in Atlantic Canada include:

  • Sussex, New Brunswick- where there is the potential for 480 wells;
  • in P.E.I. Corridor Resources began fracking in 2007;
  • Canadian Imperial Venture Corp. will be exploring the potential of shale gas this fall in Newfoundland; and
  • fracking has not been ruled out by Petroworth in the Lake Ainslie region of Cape Breton. To follow progressions in Lake Ainslie, a Facebook group has been created: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Protect-Lake-Ainslie/131114910272610

More Resources on Fracking:

Fracking is a subject that is impacting communities throughout the world and has stirred a wealth of controversy and discussion. Below, we have provided a number of resources on fracking including videos, images, reports, and links to groups involved in the fracking debate. Our goal is to inform the people of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada to protect our communities from being fracked.

Fracking Videos


  • This video describes the process of natural gas exploration with relation to water/chemical use as well as the effects of exploration on the human and natural environment. The stages of natural gas exploration are divided into 4 categories: drilling, fracturing, gas processing, and waste handling. The video is lengthy (45+ minutes), so be sure to watch it when you have the time (but make the time to watch it). The regulations and case studies in the video are American, but the issues and processes readily apply to Canada.
  • A clip from the award winning documentary GasLand by Josh Fox.
  • The CBC documentary Burning Water examines theshale gas industry in Alberta and the impacts fracking has had on local watersheds and people.
  • A presentation given by Dr.Tony Ingraffea of Duke University discussing fracking.
  • The hidden cost of the US hydraulic fracturing boom discusses the shale gas boom in the U.S., but easily applies to Canada. This video also features a discussion with Dr. Ingraffea.


Articles, Reports, & Studies


  • The report Fracture Lines, prepared by the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, provides a thorough examination of the fracking industry in Canada and the need for stronger Canadian Governmental regulation.
  • The report Fracking the Future: How Unconventional Gas Threatens Water, Health, and Climate prepared by DeSmogBlog Society of British Columbia examines shale gas with an emphasis on the role of government lobbying in promoting fracking.
  • The Robert Howarth study Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations examines the footprint of shale gas with respect to methane released into the atmosphere. The study finds that the footprint of shalegas over a 20 year timeframe is up to 20% greater than of conventional oil and gas.
  • An article by Stephen Osborn et al, Assessing water quality near gas extraction sites, published in the The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examines the incidence of well contamination in sites surrounding fracking operations.
  • The following article, A Collosal Fracking Mess, by Christopher Bateman was pusblished in Vanity Fair and provides a case study of a community in Pennsylvania impacted by fracking.
  • An article warning about the coming makeover of the fracking industry by the big Oil and gas.
  • An article reporting on France's legislated ban on hydraulic fracturing.
  • The CBC special report: B.C.'s Shale Gas Boom.
  • An article from the Huffington Post comparing the decline in air quality from fracking to L.A. smog.


For more information on how you can get involved with the fight against fracking, please contact:

Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director, Atlantic Canada Chapter – Sierra Club Canada
902-444-3113 or gretchenf@sierraclub.ca

Join the Sierra Club Canada - Atlantic Canada Chapter Water Committee -

What I Would Have Said

It's been a few nights since Nova Scotia's independent fracking review passed through Halifax, addressing a frustrated and distrusting crowd of concerned citizens. These brave PhDs stood before hundreds of people and presented some unpopular conclusions...on an even less popular topic.

Fracking - the controversial process of fracturing shale rock deep underground using a toxic mixture of chemicals in order to retrieve bubbles of natural gas. We've become a profoundly desperate people, haven't we?

The public meeting was held in a lecture hall at King's College. Some people from the audience spoke out of turn, while others simply shouted over the panelists trying to deliver their findings. I was caught between sympathy for the panelists and stark agreeance with the hecklers.... Read more »

Nova Scotia review on fracking confirms we still know nothing

By Zack Metcalfe


Even now, after several reviews of fracking in this country, we aren't certain what it's doing to our air and water. 

One such review, conducted by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), discovered the body of research into hydraulic fracturing was incomplete - there were no reliable studies on the environmental impacts.

There were reports of people lighting their tap water on fire and gas wells leaking methane into the atmosphere, but for all the panel's efforts, they couldn't deliver anything conclusive. The research simply hasn't been done.

In their conclusion they say, "authoritative data about potential [environmental] impacts are currently neither sufficient, nor conclusive."... Read more »

Fracking wells don't stand the test of time, experts say

Dr John Cherry, a hydrogeologist with the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), says fracking wells in Canada aren't built for the long haul; they tend to spring leaks.

"In my view, well integrity is likely the most important shale gas issue," said Dr Cherry in Toronto, Thursday, May 29. Dr Cherry chaired the CCA's expert panel on understanding the environmental impacts of shale gas extraction (fracking). This panel released its report in early May.... Read more »

Municipality of Colchester holds public hearings on fracking waste water

There are warnings the tidal bore in the Bay of Fundy will light up by itself if a plan to dump more than four-million litres of fracking waste water into the ocean goes ahead.

The water, which has some level of naturally occurring radiation in it, is in a holding tank right now, but Atlantic Industrial Services plans to dump that water into the Debert sewer system if it can get approval.

The district manager for the provincial environment department’s Truro office has given the dump the thumbs up, but nothing is official until the Municipality of Colchester says so.

The municipality is holding public hearings on the topic tonight and tomorrow.

There are concerns fracking companies don’t reveal all the chemicals used in their “special sauce” recipe that they use to get the gas out of the ground.... Read more »


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