Multi-Million Dollar Landmark North American Lawsuit on Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Impact on Groundwater

Suit accuses EnCana, Alberta Environment and Energy Resources Conservation Board of negligence and unlawful activities. Case presented at the United Nations in New York.

August 26, 2019: Precisely a year after Murray Klippenstein and Cory Wanless quit the lawsuit Ernst finally received her trust account funds of $40,000.00.

Above snap from Law Society of Ontario Rule 2.09

Day 416: Ernst has not yet received her files from Mr. Klippenstein which she needs to continue her lawsuit and which he repeatedly promised he would send to her after he quit.

About me:

I am a Canadian scientist living on the outskirts of the Hamlet of Rosebud, a lovely agriculture, theatre, arts and music community on the edge of the Badlands, about an hour northeast of Calgary. I moved to Alberta in 1982 after graduating with a Masters of Science from the Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in Ontario. I was born and raised in Quebec. I love science, song birds, chorus frogs, trees, dogs and beauty in my surroundings. In 1998, when I found my home and these magnificent fifty acres, with the old Rosebud River running through them, glorious chorus frog and bird song and diverse  wildlife visitors, I thought my life was complete.

But in 2001, my life was shattered. Encana started secretly and illegally frac’ing my community, with the regulators’ blessings. We were one of the first ultra shallow frac experiments, led by Ex CEO of Encana, Gwyn Morgan (who later moved to a multi million dollar home in Victoria, BC, far from the frac harms and pollution, and was given the Order of Canada). The energy regulator enabling this was then led by Chair Neil McCrank (who also led the regulator’s “repulsive” 2007 law-violating lying & spying scandal).

Encana’s frac’ing turned my life nastily upside down bringing with it endless lies, harms and abuses, notably incessant noise droning out the bird song and chorus frogs, flaring and venting, and dangerously contaminated well water. All of my dreams were destroyed.

I began researching the impacts of frac’ing, horrid impacts that industry, regulators, academics and politicians were publicly denying. In 2003, I began compiling information and sending out what I called Frac News Mailouts, initially just locally, to warn others.

News of the mailouts quickly spread and people from far and near asked to be added to the list.

Initially, there were few published papers and articles on the harms caused by frac’ing; my mailouts were simple and quick to read. As more and more papers and articles were published (now over 1,700) and reports began surfacing of industry and government silencing the harmed with settle and gag orders (some ordered by judges), and bribes to divide and conquer communities, my mailouts became dense with information and took longer to read. People asked me to make the information visual and easier to absorb and retain. I came up with using different coloured highlighting, bolding and size of fonts, which I continue today on the website. I add commentary in square brackets and “Reality Checks.”

In 2005, after asking the energy regulator (now AER) led by Chair Neil McCrank to regulate and sending them documented evidence of Encana breaking the rules, the regulator violated my Charter rights, judged me a criminal in writing without a hearing, trial or any evidence and no fingerprinting or arrest by police, and banished me from their services. I was sternly instructed by their lawyer, Rick McKee, that I would not get any “regulation” or help unless I promised to stop sharing frac information with citizens elsewhere, my neighbours, even my friends, and stopped talking to the media (just another gag order!), which I refused to do.

In early 2006, I discovered Encana had illegally fractured directly into my community’s drinking water aquifers with the regulators engaging in fraud to help the company cover it up. When I discovered that, my hopes for humanity and my life died.

In 2007, I filed my lawsuit against Encana, the energy and water regulators. I would never have done so for just my Charter rights and water well because Canada’s legal system is intentionally abusive, insanely expensive and inefficient, and impossible to access if you are an ordinary civil litigant serving the public interest who refuses to be silenced (i.e. settled and gagged). I filed it because a largely foreign-funded multinational frac’d/raped a community’s fresh water aquifers, enabled by the regulators, which is pure evil. Encana injected 18 Million litres of frac fluid directly into our drinking water supply and frac’d drinking water aquifers elsewhere.

To do this lawsuit, I sacrificed my career, business and income, and had to give up nearly all matters of living (life is expensive) to afford paying for it because I am quite ordinary and grew up in a poor immigrant family.

Contrary to what many insist, I am not strong. I am weak, increasingly tired and sad as I watch humanity greedily obliterate more and more of earth’s beauty and other species that we share her with. I think people label me as strong so that they can, in good conscience, not do anything other than do the work of living their lives, leaning on the belief that they are not strong. It does not take strength to do what I am doing – it takes persistence and believing that life is not about taking, it’s about giving.

Living frac’d and hauling water is hell, doing a lawsuit seeking “justice” in Canada is much worse hell.

About this website:

There are, as of October 2019, over 6,000 posts and 4,000 media items (the bulk of which are under Global Frac News) of collected regulator files (many not publicly available), peer reviewed research, news articles, letters, audio and video recordings, and of course, lies and propaganda by: Canada’s big bully lobby group for industry – CAPP (The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) and other smaller ones, companies, regulators, academics, the Alberta Research Council (name changed to Alberta Innovates), lawyers, judges, politicians, etc.

There are four news categories under the News & Multimedia tab:

Case News

Global Frac News

Frac’ing Multimedia

Speaking Events

There is a search button. Because of the large volume of material and because I often add numerous cross references to my posts, the search feature takes a bit of experimenting.

The Lawsuit page contains legal filings and other information related to the lawsuit. I have so far only experienced phenomenal delays and of course, judicial lies, contradictions and doors slammed in the public interest’s face.

Other Lawsuits contains information and filings about other lawsuits related to frac’ing and oil and gas, but also relating to pedophilia, rape and sexual assault because frac’ing communities is a form of rape – which is about power.

The website is paid for by myself, and worked on by myself, with its contents the work of 16 years of research (as of June 2003). Many more files remain to be uploaded and articles posted but there is never enough time or energy.

The lawsuit is life, finances and health destroying as intended by the establishment – they want civil citizen lawsuits quickly settled and gagged to keep corporate, government, rapist and pedophile crimes hidden so that the powerful can economically and easily keep the harmed “shut up” and contamination and associated regulator fraud covered-up to enable more crimes again and again “down the street.”

The Thank You page contains an update of donations received to help with the cost of trying to access Canada’s inaccessible legal system, and some wonderful notes of support.

Andrew Nikiforuk’s Slick Water page contains reviews of this world renowned journalist’s recent award-winning book on the history and science of frac’ing interwoven with parts of this public interest lawsuit and my story.

Going public with the lawsuit:

2011 04 27:

Jessica Ernst by Colin Smith

Jessica Ernst on her land, photograph by Colin Smith

Nearly a decade ago EnCana, one of the world’s largest natural gas producers, began a risky and experimental drilling program that required intense hydraulic fracturing for shallow coalbed methane (Horseshoe Canyon Formation) throughout central Alberta.

Hydraulic fracturing blasts open oil, gas and coal formations with highly pressurized volumes of water, sand and undisclosed chemical fluids or gases. The technology has boosted natural gas reserves but has become the subject of serious government investigations throughout North America due to surface and groundwater contamination.

In Report 2011-A Alberta’s primary energy regulator, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), recently disclosed that the potential for hydraulic fracturing to contaminate useable water aquifers with fracturing fluid chemicals and natural gas is a real public issue, especially in shallow zones.

On April 27, 2011 lawyers representing Jessica Ernst, a 54-year-old oil patch consultant, released a 73-page statement of claim that alleges that EnCana broke multiple provincial laws and regulations and contaminated a shallow aquifer used by a rural community with natural gas and toxic industry-related chemicals.

The claim methodically reports how Alberta’s two key groundwater regulators, Alberta Environment and the ERCB, “failed to follow the investigation and enforcement processes that they had established and publicized.”

The ERCB recently gave EnCana permission to drill and fracture more CBM wells above the base of groundwater protection near the affected water wells mentioned in this claim.

Jessica Ernst has been invited to present her story and make recommendations to governments at the 19th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development at the United Nations in New York.

The claim represents assertions that have not yet been proven in court.  All defendants will have the opportunity to respond in these proceedings.

Un procès historique Nord Américain de plusieurs millions de dollars à propos de la fracturation hydraulique et ses impacts sur la nappe phréatique

Le procès accuse EnCana, Alberta Environment et Energy Resources Conservation Board de négligence et d’activités illégales. La cause présentée devant les Nations Unies à New York.

Jessica Ernst by Colin Smith

Jessica Ernst chez elle, photo de Colin Smith

Il y a de cela presque une décennie, EnCana, l’une des plus importantes gazières du monde, a commencé un programme de forage risqué et expérimental nécessitant de la fracturation hydraulique intense afin d’extraire du méthane, en gaz de couche peu profonde dans la formation Horseshoe Canyon au cœur de l’Alberta.

La fracturation hydraulique provoque des failles dans les formations géologiques contenant du pétrole, du gaz et du charbon grâce à de grandes quantités d’eau injectées à haute pression avec du sable et des mélanges de fluides ou de gaz chimiques non divulgués. La technique permet d’exploiter des réserves de gaz naturel jusque-là inaccessibles, mais est l’objet d’enquêtes gouvernementales sérieuses à travers l’Amérique du Nord à cause de contaminations d’eaux de surface et souterraines.

Dans son rapport 2011-A, le principal organisme de contrôle de l’Alberta, l’Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), a révélé que le potentiel des chimiques des fluides de fracturation et le gaz naturel de contaminer les aquifères d’eau potable est une véritable question d’intérêt public, surtout dans les régions peu profondes.

Le 27 avril 2011, les avocats de Jessica Ernst vont déposer une réclamation de 73 pages qui prétend qu’EnCana a enfreint à plusieurs lois et règlements provinciaux ainsi qu’avoir contaminé un aquifère peu profond desservant une communauté rurale avec du gaz naturel et des chimiques toxiques utilisés par l’industrie.

La réclamation détaille méthodiquement comment les deux principaux organismes de contrôle de l’eau souterraine de l’Alberta, Alberta Environment et le ERCB, ont “manqué dans leur tâche de suivre les procédés d’enquête et de mise en application qu’ils s’étaient fixé et avaient rendus public.”

Le ERCB avait donné dernièrement la permission à EnCana de forer et fracturer davantage de puits au-delà de la protection minimale de l’eau souterraine près des puits d’eau potable mentionnés dans cette réclamation.

Jessica Ernst a été invitée à présenter son histoire et faire ses recommandations aux gouvernements à la 19e session de la Commission de développement durable aux Nations Unis à New York.

La réclamation fait des déclarations qui n’ont pas été prouvées en cour de justice. Tous les défendeurs auront la possibilité d’y répondre durant ces procédures.

Encana’s ultra shallow 5-14-22-27 W4M gas well at Rosebud, Alberta illegally fractured directly and secretly into the community’s drinking water aquifers in 2004

UNANIMA International Woman of Courage Award

NEW YORK, New York (October 1, 2011) UNANIMA International, a UN Economic and Social Council accredited NGO working for international justice at the United Nations celebrates its 10th Anniversary Saturday by presenting its annual WOMAN OF COURAGE award to Jessica Ernst of Rosebud, Alberta, internationally known for her efforts to hold companies accountable for environmental harm done by “fracking”.

Ernst, a 54 year old scientist with 30 years petroleum industry experience, is suing the Alberta government, Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and EnCana for negligence and unlawful activities.

Nearly a decade ago EnCana, one of the world’s largest natural gas producers, began a risky and experimental drilling program that applied intense hydraulic fracturing for shallow coalbed methane throughout central Alberta. Ms. Ernst’s statement of claim alleges that EnCana broke multiple provincial laws and regulations and contaminated a shallow aquifer that supplied drinking water to the Rosebud community with natural gas and toxic industry-related chemicals. The claim methodically reports how Alberta’s two key groundwater regulators, Alberta Environment and the ERCB, “failed to follow the investigation and enforcement processes that they had established and publicized.” The allegations have yet to be proven in court.

Hydraulic fracturing uses “brute force” to blast open oil, gas and coal formations with highly pressurized chemical fluids or gases. It is the subject of serious government investigations throughout North America. In 2002, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment held a Linking Water Science to Policy Workshop. The workshop report concluded that unconventional natural gas drilling posed a real threat to groundwater quality and quantity, and that the nation needs “baseline hydrogeological investigations…to be able to recognize and track groundwater contaminants.” Not until nine years later on September 21 2011, did the Canadian government announce that it would initiate two studies to determine whether hydraulic fracturing is harming the environment.

UNANIMA International chose Ms. Ernst as its awardee this year as a part of its international “Water = Life” campaign. “Access to life-giving water is an essential right for all life forms,” stated the UNANIMA coordinator, Catherine Ferguson. “Our members have experienced fracking as an enormous danger to their fresh water supply wherever it is carried out. We applaud Ms. Ernst’s courage in standing up for her rights.”

The award and a lecture by Ms. Ernst will be given at the 10th Anniversary reception for UNANIMA International in New York at the Church Center of the United Nations, 777 UN Plaza, just across from the United Nations building on East 44th Street. The event begins at 11:00 am.

UNANIMA International
211 East 43rd Street, Room 1207
New York, NY 10017
Tel:/Fax 212-370-0075 (Office)

UNANIMA International Prix Femme de Courage

NEW YORK, New York (1er Octobre 2011) UNANIMA International, un ONG qui travaille pour la justice au niveau international en harmonie avec la charte des Nations Unies pour améliorer les conditions économiques et sociales de tous les peuples, a célébré son 10e anniversaire samedi en présentant son prix Femme de Courage à Jessica Ernst de Rosebud, en Alberta, reconnue internationalement pour ses efforts à tenir les compagnies redevables pour les dommages environnementaux causés par la fracturation hydraulique.

Mme Ernst, une scientifique âgée de 54 ans avec 30 ans d’expérience avec l’industrie pétrolière, entame un procès contre le gouvernement de l’Alberta, l’Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) et EnCana, les accusant de négligence et d’activités illégales.

Il y a presque une décennie de cela, EnCana, l’une des compagnies gazières les plus importantes de la planète, a commencé un programme expérimental de forages qui consistait à fracturer hydrauliquement à la recherche du méthane dans les couches peu profondes de charbon au travers la région centrale de l’Alberta. La déclaration de Mme Ernst prétend qu’EnCana a enfreint à plusieurs lois et règlements provinciaux et aurait contaminé un aquifère superficiel qui fournissait de l’eau potable à la communauté de Rosebud avec du gaz naturel et des chimiques toxiques associés à l’industrie. La réclamation rapporte méthodiquement comment les deux principaux principaux régulateurs des eaux souterraines de l’Alberta, Alberta Environment et l’ERCB, ont failli dans leur devoir de suivre l’enquête et le processus de mise en application qu’ils avaient déterminé et publicisé. La preuve de ces allégations doit être faite en cour de justice.

La fracturation hydraulique utilise la force brute pour éclater les formations géologiques contenant du pétrole, du gaz ou du charbon grâce à des fluides ou des gaz injectés à haute pression. C’est un sujet sous enquêtes gouvernementales sérieuses partout en Amérique du Nord. En 2002, le Conseil canadien des ministres de l’environnement ont tenu un atelier sur les sciences de l’eau et les politiques. Le rapport de l’atelier a conclu que le forage pour le gaz naturel non conventionnel était une menace réelle à la qualité de l’eau souterraine et sa quantité, et que la nation devait faire une enquête hydrogéologique pour établir un niveau de référence afin de pouvoir reconnaître et suivre les contaminants dans les eaux souterraines. Enfin, 9 années plus tard, le 21 septembre 2011, le gouvernement canadien a annoncé qu’il lancerait 2 études afin de déterminer si la fracturation hydraulique nuit à l’environnement.

UNANIMA International a choisi Mme Ernst comme récipiendaire cette année en partie à cause de sa campagne internationale Eau=Vie. “L’accès à l’eau, source de toute vie, est un droit essentiel pour toutes les êtres vivants”, affirme Catherine Ferguson, coordonnatrice de UNANIMA. “Nos membres ont constaté que la fracturation est une menace importante pour leur source d’eau douce partout où il s’en fait. Nous applaudissons le courage de Mme Ernst qui défend ses droits.”

La cérémonie de remise de prix et une conférence donnée par Mme Ernst se dérouleront à la réception du 10e anniversaire d’UNANIMA International à New York au Church Center des Nations Unies, 777 UN Plaza, en face de l’édifice des Nations Unies sur la 44e Street East, à 11:00 heures.

UNANIMA International
211 East 43rd Street, Chambre 1207
New York, NY 10017
Tel:/Fax 212-370-0075 (Office)


To my surprise and delight, C Abel created this cartoon. It was published in The Lethbridge Herald, March 5, 2014. I love cartoons!