Sierra Club Atlantic Calls for Three Commitments to Protect PEI Water


September 19, 2011

Orwell, PEI- Sierra Club Canada - Atlantic Canada Chapter is asking for a ban on fracking for natural gas, an end to fish kills and degradation of rivers through nitrates and sediment run off, and an investment in sewage treatment for Charlottetown as three key commitments needed from candidates in the PEI provincial election. Sierra Club Atlantic members gathered on PEI this weekend to celebrate their 10th anniversary and to talk about key issues in the region. One of the key areas discussed was the need to protect Prince Edward Island's precious water ways and fresh water resources.

"This weekend we learned how crucial it is for an Island as small as PEI, with its limited fresh water resources, to protect and conserve its water" according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, Chapter Director of the Sierra Club Atlantic. “As well, we heard from fishermen that their livelihoods are in danger and frankly, the Island way of life is being threatened.”

Participants at the meeting learned that $24 million is required for sewage treatment infrastructure in Charlottetown in order to protect Charlottetown harbour. They also learned that watershed groups are working to protect watershed throughout the province, but their efforts continue to be hindered by pollution from pesticides and fertilizers that cause fish kills every year on the Island.

"Industry states that up to 20 million litres of water is required for the hydraulic fracture stimulation of a single well," according to Hazel Richardson, newly elected member of the Chapter's Executive Committee. "This water is mixed with sand and a range of additives, some of which are known to be harmful to the environment and to human health. The wastewater from the wells is treated as toxic waste. We cannot risk contamination of our groundwater; particularly on PEI, where all the drinking water supplies come from groundwater sources." 

"The waterfront in Charlottetown is a key tourist attraction, as well as habitat for fish and shellfish" according to Fred Winsor, Conservation Chair of the Chapter, "We are calling for a substantial commitment from provincial and federal leaders to invest in making sure it is clean and can support healthy fisheries and aquaculture operations as it is the third largest industry in PEI. We also want thorough investigation and prosecutions of those linked to fish kills. This day and age we cannot ignore the impact of loss of species and habitat on our health and our economy.”

The Annual Gathering included discussions on the future of energy, youth action and education, and oil and gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Participants were treated to a guided hike in Macphail Woods by Acadian forest experts Gary Schneider and Bob Bancroft. The Rudy Haase Award for outstanding conservation achievement was presented to Sierra Club leader Jean-Paul Bourque and the Bruno Award for tenacity was presented to biologist and educator Bob Bancroft.

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For more information, please contact:

Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director, Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter, 902-444-3113 or

Hazel Richardson, Executive Committee, Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter, 506-452-8915,

Fred Winsor, Conservation Chair, Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter, 709-682-4309


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