Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on July 22, 2012

Fracking – the word is short for hydraulic fracturing – is a technology used to extract natural gas from rock formations, such as shale. Millions of litres of water, chemicals, and sand are blasted underground in order to create fractures or cracks in the rock, through which gas can escape and flow up the well.   

The oil and gas industry maintains that fracking poses no danger to the environment or human health. However, a growing number of scientific studies show it creates many risks.  

As a result of these studies, both the State of Vermont and the Province of Quebec have banned fracking. Many communities across the US and Canada are demanding similar bans.

The Government of Saskatchewan, on the other hand, is encouraging fracking companies to start projects in the province. Drilling is already underway in the southeast corner of our province.


#1 Fracking contaminates water wells and groundwater.

Fracking requires the injection of between 55,000 and 220,000 litres of chemicals ino a well under high pressure. The fracking industry claims the cement casings they put in the wells keep the chemicals out of wells and groundwater.

However, the industry refuses to reveal the chemicals used in the process, saying it is a trade secret.  

In 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency released its first thorough study of the effects of fracking on drinking water. Conducted in the Wyoming town of Pavilion, which is near a fracking operation, the study concluded that the presence in the water of synthetic compoiunds, such as glycol ethers, were “the result of direct mixing of hydraulic fracking fluids with ground- water.”  Residents were told to stop drinking water from their wells.


Tetramethylammonium Chloride ●Benzene  ●Toluene ●Glycol Ethers ●Methanol ●Naphthalene

 A study by Dr Theo Colborn, with the Endocrine Disrupting Exchange, shows that

25% of the chemicals used in the fracking process can cause cancer.  

46% can do damage to the cardiovascular system and blood.

52% can harm the nervous system.

For further information, go to

The fracking process can also cause naturally occurring methane to migrate to drinking water sources. This is the flaming tap water phenomenon, highlighted in the documentary film Gasland and  the CBC documentary Burning Water. Residents living near fracking operations are able to light their tap water on fire.

# 2 Fracking contaminates rivers and streams–and hence the water supply for homes and industries.

Much of the chemical-laced water injected down a well will stay underground. However, 20-40% will be regurgitated back to the surface, bringing with it the chemicals it included in the first place, along with traces of oil and other material trapped in the rock: iron, chromium, radium, and salt. The question is what to do with this volume of bad water. The oil and gas industry has not come up with a satisfactory answer. In the meantime, this noxious wastewater keeps getting into streams and rivers.

#3 Fracking causes air pollution and earthquakes.

  • Fumes rising from fracked wells and wastewater pits pollutes the air. Wyoming, for example, no longer meets federal air quality standards because of fumes seeping from the state’s 27,000 wells, vapours that contain benzene and tuluene.
  • The UK has suspended fracking after a firm admitted its project had caused a number of minor tremors. Fracking has also been suspended in Fayetteville Arkansas, where work has been accompanied by a notable increase in earthquakes. According to Ohio state officials, a 4.0 earthquake in 2011 was caused by deep injection wells where wastewater produced from fracking was kept.

#4 A reliance on fracked natural gas will hinder global efforts to cope with climate change.

When burned, natural gas produces about half as much carbon dioxide as coal. However, natural gas–CH2–in its unburned state is a very powerful greenhouse gas itself, many times stronger than CO2.

Abundant and cheap natual gas will make it that much harder to get  truly low-carbon sources of power, such as sun and wind, up and running on a large scale.

According to a 2011 International Energy agency projection, if we don’t take action on climate change, the average termperature of the earth’s surface will rise 3.5 degrees Celsius, far highter than all the experts believe is safe.

A recent Environics Resarch poll found that 62% of Canadians support “a moratorim on all fracking for natural gas until all the federal environmental reviews are complete.” In Saskatchewan the percentage of people opposing fracking was even higher: 64%.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: