Anti-fracking protest held at Province House

About 70 Islanders staged an anti-fracking protest at Province House Tuesday.

About 70 Islanders staged an anti-fracking protest at Province House Tuesday.

The development of shale gas and the use of the hydraulic fracturing process to remove the gas have been controversial in the Maritimes.

The concern is the method used to extract the natural gas.

Hydraulic fracturing pumps a mixture of chemicals and water into the ground, which creates cracks in shale rock formations. That allows companies to extract natural gas from areas that would otherwise go untapped.

The Sierra Club is calling for a ban on the practice, and a stop to natural gas exploration on P.E.I.

"We have to make sure that it's an equal give and take. Where it's protecting the environment, our citizens and our ground water, and being able to provide energy," said Christina MacLeod, chair of the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club — a health and environmental group.

"We just don't see that balance with fracking. It uses a lot of water, it contaminates ground water, and there's been health effects for both animals and humans near it."

Conservative Leader Olive Crane voiced her support for the rally. She said Islanders have heard about the harmful effects of fracking around the world and that everyone must work together to ensure it doesn't happen on P.E.I.

The New Democrats and the Island Party also oppose fracking.

"We want to make sure that we're being precautionary, but also to invest in energy that is that balance, that we see with wind, with solar," said MacLeod.

P.E.I.'s Environment Minister Richard Brown said no fracking would be allowed until Ottawa concludes an environment assessment of the process.

More than 1,000 people protested in Fredericton Monday against hydro-fracking.