Fracking Lawsuit Nears Deadline by Bob Brown, June 13, 2013, Drumheller Online
A lawsuit by a local woman against Encana and the Alberta Government over hydraulic fracturing drags on. The case hasn’t been in court since January, when the presiding judge was appointed to the Court of Appeal, taking her off the case before she could rule on whether Jessica Ernst should be allowed to sue the Energy Resources Conservation Board for failing to protect groundwater.
Ernst, who lives in Rosebud, about a half hour west of Drumheller, claims Encana drilled and fracked shallow coal bed methane wells directly in the local groundwater supply between 2001 and 2004. She also accuses the ERCB and Alberta Environment of sweeping the matter under the rug and asks $33 million in damages. As the case drags on, Ernst, who has worked as a consultant in the oil patch for years, has felt public opinion start to swing her way. “I think a lot of people realized that this lawsuit is about all of us. It really is a lawsuit for Albertans, to defend their independence and their fierceness and to stand up for what we believe in. It’s been really heart warming to see the changes in how many people are supporting the lawsuit.”
Ernst says Encana has promised her lawyers to have a statement of defense ready by June 15. The ruling as to whether the ERCB can be sued by a private individual is in the hands of the chief Alberta justice, but there is no timeline for a decision. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
How Alberta Will Fight Fracking Folk Hero Jessica Ernst, In famous flaming water case, regulator to argue ‘no duty of care’ to landowners or groundwater Court hearing was on January 18, 2013; Encana argued nothing in court. ]