To write letters of support to the community (and the many other communities and municipalities in Quebec that have written similar by laws to protect their drinking water, for example, Richelieu’s by law prohibits any drilling within 2 km of its drinking water source) and/or send a donation (this case affects us all):
Mailing address to send your donation or for information:
Municipalité de Ristigouche-Sud-Est
35, Chemin Kempt
Ristigouche-Sud-Est, Québec Canada G0J 1V0
Phone: 418 320-9779
Note: If sending your donation by cheque and you wish to receive a tax receipt for your donation, please confirm this in your mailing to us along with a stamped envelope.
[Why now?] Gastem’s lawsuit suddenly drops from $ 1.5 million to $ 1 million by radiogaspesie.ca in collaboration with CIEU FM, 7 September 201728
Gastem reduced the amount it claims to Ristigouche-Sud-Est by half a million dollars from $ 1.5 million to $ 1 million. In fact, the exact amount of the claim will be adjusted at the end of the proceedings.
The gas company subtracted $358,000 from the amount it initially claimed at the time of the filing of the suit for analyzing the potential of hydrocarbons in order to better understand the formations. As the work had not been carried out, the invoice was canceled, says Gastem’s lawyer, Daniel Kochenburger.
Gastem also subtracted from its claim the sum of $150,000 for the deposit paid to the Government of Québec when a company undertakes a drilling project. Because the site closure at Ristigouche-Sud-Est satisfied the Department of Natural Resources, this amount was returned to Gastem.
Thirdly, $4,000 was also withdrawn because 25% of Jacques Perron’s total bill for its representative services at Ristigouche-Sud-Est was attributable to another project of Gastem’s. [A little crookedness in Gastem’s lawsuit? Intent to intimidate with inaccurate math?]
Tiny Quebec village faces $1.5M lawsuit for trying to protect its water, Ristigouche Sud-Est in Gaspé region sued for passing bylaw protecting water sources from drilling by Benjamin Shingler, September 6, 2017, CBC News
Gas company sues tiny village for $1.5M — 5 times its annual budget
Oil exploration company halts drilling near Gaspé, announces talks with First Nations
Quebec puts an end to plans to drill for oil on Anticosti Island
Oil drilling concerns to be addressed says environment minister
Ristigouche crowdfunds its defence in $1.5M gas company lawsuit
A tiny village on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula is facing off against an oil company in a legal battle that could end up costing the community $1.5 million.
The municipality of Ristigouche Sud-Est is being sued by Gastem, a Montreal-based oil-and-gas exploration and development company, for passing a bylaw in March 2013 establishing a two-kilometre no-drill zone near the source of the village’s water.
At the time, Gastem had provincial permits for exploration in the area, and Gastem president Raymond Savoie said the bylaw was passed without consulting the company.
The trial, which is expected to last 10 days, got underway Tuesday in Quebec Superior Court in New Carlisle, Que. A total of 30 people, including local councillors and experts in municipal law, are expected to testify.
“The stake is this: Does a municipality have the right to adopt a bylaw towards the protection of the common good without fearing a lawsuit?” Mayor François Boulay said in an interview Wednesday.
Mayor François Boulay says it will be impossible for the village to pay Gastem if the exploration company wins.
If the village — home to only 157 people — ends up losing, it will have a difficult time footing the bill. The $1.5 million in damages sought by Gastem is more than five times Ristigouche’s annual budget.
“From a citizen’s standpoint, I can tell you that many people are anxious. They fear losing this trial,” Boulay said.
Oil company wants ‘rights recognized’
Savoie, a Liberal cabinet minister under former premier Robert Bourassa, didn’t want to speculate earlier this week when asked if he hopes to get the full amount from the village.
Gastem sold its exploration rights soon after filing the lawsuit in 2014.
“We will see what will result from the trial, but at least we want to have our rights recognized,” he told The Canadian Press.
A legal victory for Ristigouche, on the other hand, would set a precedent that municipalities have the right to guarantee their citizens a healthy living environment, Boulay said. [It would set an important precedent. But in fascist (oil industry controlled) Canadian courts, a victory for the public interest (water) and ordinary civil citizens is highly unlikely]
In 2014, the village launched a fundraising campaign to help pay its legal fees. Solidarity Ristigouche has so far raised more than $281,000 from residents, environmental groups and municipalities across the province.
The village also has the backing of Quebec’s Federation of Municipalities.
Municipalities want stricter limits on oil exploration
Villages and towns across Quebec are hoping the trial spurs the provincial government to introduce stricter rules around oil and gas exploration.
Last June, 230 municipalities filed a request with Quebec’s Environment Ministry seeking similar protections to those in place in Ristigouche: a distance of two kilometres between a gas-and-oil company’s installations and the sources of drinking water on their territory.
Environmentalists are also watching the case closely. Several dozen protesters gathered outside the courthouse on Tuesday in support of the village.
Environment [???] Minister David Heurtel has said a two-kilometre boundary, like the one in Ristigouche, is too restrictive, and restrictions should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
A spokesperson for Heurtel declined to comment Wednesday, citing the ongoing court case.
Under current provincial law, passed a year after Ristigouche passed its bylaw, exploration must be at least 500 metres from a water source. [Emphasis added]
Gastem’s telephone is no longer in use!! What circus is this corporation?
Tel. : + 1 514 875-9034
Fax : + 1 514 878-3041
1155, University street, Suite 1308
Montréal, Québec, H3B 3A7 CANADA
[Refer also to:
2017 08 17: Another Quebec Gov’t Fail: Protects Anticosti from Frack harms, But not already methane contaminated Gaspé *and* Gives $8.4 Million taxpayer money to Junex Inc, private junior oil company under guise of “investment”
2017 02 17: “Alberta Model” Quebec’s Frac Frenzy Free-for-all Deregulation Bill 106: Vue en coupe d’un règlement qui nous prend pour des idiots
2014 08 01: Governments across Canada failing to protect drinking water; Government betrays Ristigouche and 70 other Quebec municipalities that put bylaws into place to protect drinking water; Gastem attacks Ristigouche with $1.5 Million Lawsuit
2013 09 23: La CRÉ dénonce Gastem, calls lawsuit against the small community terrorism, case to be argued on November 18, 2013
2013 02 17: CEO of Gastem says ecology activists are fascists and states that ‘nobody’ in Alberta complains about drilling wells, Le pdg de Gastem qualifie les militants écologistes de “fascistes”
What good will 500 metres do?
Slide from Ernst presentations