Oil companies could probably make some money fracking for natural gas on Prince Edward Island and some Islanders would probably gain much-needed employment.
Those are factors the P.E.I. government would surely have to consider if and when oil companies come calling, looking for fracking permits.
However, there are 140,000-some reasons why government should turn any such applications down: every man, woman and child who call P.E.I. home, and not even counting the million or so tourists who visit this Garden in the Gulf every year.
Potential benefits would only be realized while the gas is being forced out of the ground, but potential for serious environmental damage, including groundwater contamination, would continue long after the companies move on.
The benefits are not worth the risk.
A Mill River resident pounded the proverbial nail when she stated during an information session presented this week: “I’m terrified that they look at a region like ours and say, ‘Look, the people are poor, the people are underemployed, the people have a lower income. Let’s come in, build them a community centre … be good corporate citizens, because they want the jobs.’”
If a company were to apply for a permit to frack here, that would be the only reason why it would think it has any chance of getting approval, because jobs are needed.
Because it makes absolutely no sense to have fracking going on in the most densely populated province in Canada, where there is absolutely no way of insuring all residents would be protected from environmental harm.
The environment has been abused for far too long. It needs to come first, ahead of income and ahead of jobs.
Same applies to deep-water wells.
Sure, growers could probably increase their yield and harvest more uniform spuds using irrigation, but at what cost? They would need greater yield just to cover the cost of their irrigation equipment.
Over the long haul, growers might get better returns for their crops but, again, at what cost? It certainly can’t be at the expense of our water supply.
There are already more than enough worry about nitrates and chemicals getting into our water supply, let alone worrying about residential wells going dry.