Reprise du procès de Jessica Ernst Par JoJo Amie du Richelieu Lundi 4 février 2013, Les Hebdos Régionaux Québecor Média
Demain, vendredi le 18 janvier 2013, le procès de Jessica Ernst franchit une autre étape à la cour de Calgary. Cette cause pourrait créer un précédent judiciaire au Canada: Jessica accuse une gazière d’avoir contaminé son puits d’eau potable, et dénonce le manque de vigilance du ministère de l’environnement de sa province pour ne pas avoir pris des mesures nécessaires afin de protéger l’eau potable de ses citoyens. Ses avocats l’ont prévenue: c’est une cause légale qui pourrait s’étirer durant des années, mais c’est du jamais vu, et Jessica entend bien se rendre jusqu’au bout. Mme Ernst admire beaucoup les Québécois d’avoir tenu tête aux gazières et au gouvernement Libéral qui en faisaient la promotion. Le Québec est une province qu’elle aime beaucoup, et n’aimerait pas nous voir vivre les épreuves qu’elle et sa communauté doivent endurer à Rosebud, en Alberta.
Lien pour le communiqué de presse
Looking for change by Peter Lauridsen, February 1, 2013, Page 10 Strathmore Times
How this case affects the regulatory process down the road is still an open question. As Justice Veldhuis told the participants early on in the day’s proceedings, “this is a very complex case (and) there is a huge volume of material. It would be impossible to give any kind of answer today.” Or, it seems, anytime soon. If the hearing in Jessica Ernst’s lawsuit shows us anything, it’s that the wheels of justice, like molasses on an unseasonably warm January day, move very slowly.
Rosebud fracking lawsuit takes next step by Peter Lauridsen, January 23, 2013, Front Page The Drumheller Mail
Rimbey area dairy farmer and National Farmers Union co-ordinator Jan Slomp has been following Ernst’s case closely. “I think Jessica’s case is so interesting. I’m very curious how it develops.” Noting the mountain of evidence she has gathered in her journey thus far, he adds: “She has a perfect case to win.” Scarcely a moment later, he admits, “My faith in the government as an oil and gas regulator is zero right now. We’re pushed into not trusting anything. I’m desperate. How do I defend my land for the use of future generations?”
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 by Andrew Nikiforuk, January 16, 2013, TheTyee.ca
Plaintiff rejects energy board’s ‘ecoterrorist’ accusation
In addition the board argues that its governing statutes provide immunity not only “for negligence but gross negligence, bad faith and even deliberate acts.”
“If indeed the legislature wishes to grant such sweeping and total immunity to a government agency that has such an important role in the lives of rural Albertans, it must do so specifically and with clear wording,” replies an Ernst legal brief. “It has not. The legislature has failed to include omissions.”
The ERCB legal defense brief also portrays Ernst as an “ecoterrorist” and says it ceased all communication with her out of concern of violence in  after Ernst made an offhand comment about “the Wiebo Way.”
Wiebo Ludwig was a northern Alberta landowner who orchestrated a unprecedented campaign of industrial sabotage against the oil and gas industry in the late 1990s after five years of civil complaints and little regulatory response. Since then hundreds of landowners in Alberta and British Columbia have made comments about “the Wiebo Way.”
A legal brief submitted by Ernst’s lawyers argue that the ERCB’s allegations are not supported by public evidence and amount to character assassination.
A transcript of a taped conversation with an ERCB lawyer read and heard by this reporter seems to contradict the contents of this ERCB brief. In 2006 a board lawyer admitted to Ernst and a witness that the agency had no real safety concerns with Ernst, but disliked her public criticism of the board because it had become “humiliating.”
“The ERCB takes the prejudicial, vexatious, unsupported and wholly unsupportable position that the ‘expression’ the Plaintiff seeks to protect was a ‘threat of violence’ and that the ERCB ceased communication with Ms. Ernst ‘in order to protect its staff, the Alberta public and the Alberta oil and gas industry from further acts of eco-terrorism.’ This is a prejudicial and irresponsible accusation that is entirely without foundation.”
Adds the brief: “If the ERCB wishes to advance its patently absurd and irresponsible theory that Ms. Ernst’s offhand reference to Wiebo Ludwig was somehow a ‘threat of violence,’ and that an appropriate response to ‘protect against further acts of eco-terrorism’ was to cease communication with the Plaintiff, it must do so by forwarding cogent evidence. The ERCB has not, and frankly cannot, put forward such evidence.”
Government wants words struck from plaintiff’s brief
Last year the RCMP charged a mother of three children in central Alberta, Kim Mildenstein, for writing a threat against an oil and gas company after a dangerous volume of fracking traffic threatened the safety of children at a local school.
Louis Frank and two other women from the Blood Nation Reserve were also arrested for blockading a fracking vehicle in southern Alberta in 2011.
Mildenstein pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year of probation while the Crown dropped all charges against Frank last year.
In contrast Ernst has never been arrested or charged with uttering threats of any kind.
Lawyers representing Alberta Environment are asking for the removal of more than a dozen paragraphs from Ernst’s amended statement of claim. In particular the government wants any mention of other landowners and other water wells struck from Ernst’s claim such as the following sentence:
“By mid 2005 Alberta Environment knew that a number of landowners had made complaints regarding suspected contamination of the Rosebud Aquifer potentially caused by oil and gas development.”
Government lawyers say such statements are irrelevant and improper because the government might have to respond to “similar fact evidence.” The government also argues that the use of words such as “hazardous” and “pollutants” to describe groundwater contamination are “argumentative and should be struck.”
A 2004 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the fracking of coal formations warned that the practice could contaminate aquifers and well waters: “If fracturing fluids have been injected to a point outside of the well’s capture zone, they will not be recovered through production pumping and, if mobile, may be available to migrate through an aquifer.” [Emphasis added]
Gaz de schiste – Jessica continue son procès French Translation by Amie du Richelieu, January 16, 2013
[Refer also to:
Fracking will not contaminate groundwater, very shallow fracking has contaminated groundwater. To suggest that the ERCB does not look after the interests and safety of the people of Alberta is not only incorrect, but it also does a great disservice to the employees of the ERCB.
December 2007: Development of a memorandum of understanding between Alberta Environment (AENV) and the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB, now ERCB) to enhance collaboration for the protection and management of groundwater
T.S. Eliot: Little Gidding
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Thank you Rosebud, my community.
Quotes in video by Capturemefilms Jessica Ernst: The Consequences of Fracking, transcribed by Bill Huston, January 20, 2013, Bill Huston’s Blog (Binghamton, NY), ~@2:50 Min:
“No healthy community will allow hydraulic fracturing
so they have to make the community sick —
And they do so by feeding the dark side [of] human nature
which is greed, sloth, selfishness they feed the ego
they promise a little bit…
…and then whammo, the community is divided.
The people with concerns are then abused
by the people who want more money
and Encana doesn’t even have to do the dirty work!
A lot of the other companies;
the people in the communities
do the dirty work for them.
It’s an incredibly brilliant technique
which works very well.
Everywhere they’re fracking this is happening.
And my conclusion as a scientist,
and as an environmental biologist–
as an environmental specialist that has worked in this industry…
My conclusion is that
No healthy community on this planet
would allow hydraulic fracturing
because it is not safe,
It is impossible to do
even with the best rules and regulations.”
Alberta’s Best in the World ERCB: “No Duty of Care to Landowners and Groundwater”
Professional engineers, geologists and geophysicists shall, in their areas of practice, hold paramount the health, safety and welfare of the public, and have regard for the environment.
EnCana is an engineering and a geology company, it too can be brought up to APEGA as a complaint if abrogating Rule 01.
Ewart: Critic boycotts Encana hearing, but crusade against fracking far from over by Stephen Ewart, January 19, 2013, Calgary Herald
On Saturday, Jessica Ernst – ever mindful the case is playing in the legal system and the court of public opinion – responded to a request to arrange a photo at the Calgary court appearance by supplying a photo taken Friday of her at the doors of the Drumheller Court House.
Jessica Ernst’s long battle with natural gas giant Encana moved into a packed Calgary courtroom Friday, but with the lead player boycotting the proceeding because it was moved from central Alberta, there was little in the way of courtroom drama. Ernst wants the case — her supporters bill it as a “landmark lawsuit” against fracking — to be heard in Drumheller, which is closer to her home in the village of Rosebud. “This is where I live. This is where my water is. This is where the coal bed methane wells were drilled. This is where my wells were contaminated,” Ernst said in a statement read to the court by lawyer Murray Klippenstein.“It is important to rural Albertans that disputes and harms that occur in their communities are judged in those communities.”
Regardless, the hearing took place on the 15th floor of the Calgary Courts Centre, surrounded by the office towers that are home to the Canadian oil and gas industry.
The boycott adds another element to an already complex case that began almost a decade ago as Ernst grew increasingly worried about the water from a well on her property as Encana conducted a drilling program in the area. The $33-million lawsuit “effectively puts on trial the practice and regulation of hydraulic fracturing.” said Klippenstein, Ernst’s Toronto-based lawyer. In addition to Encana, the suit also names the Alberta government and the provincial Energy Resources Conservation Board. The ERCB is cited by Ernst for not taking adequate steps to protect her water and disregarding her constitutional right to freedom of speech.
That only scratches the surface of the legalities in the case. “There is nothing simple about this case,” said Justice Barbara Veldhuis of the Court of Queen’s Bench. “There is a lot of material … everyone agrees this is a complex case.”
Ernst’s original statement of claim, filed in 2007, has been amended four times. … Nobody is expecting swift justice. At one point, Veldhuis acknowledged any ruling she made on the Crown immunity issue would likely be appealed to a higher court while Klippenstein said Ernst recognizes it will likely take years for the larger case to be resolved. … Friday’s proceedings were part of the “case management” aspect of the justice system that deals with the logistics of getting large, complex litigation through the courts.
The dry subject matter involving a half-dozen grey-suited lawyers didn’t deter about 70 people — many of them farmers from central Alberta — from cramming into the courtroom. The court clerk had to corral extra chairs to accommodate all the onlookers.
If Ernst wasn’t present in person, she certainly was there in spirit.
“Jessica is not alone,” said Jan Slomp, a dairy farmer from Rimby and a representative from the National Farmers Union. “She represents a lot of landowners.”
Many of the people in the courtroom expressed concern they are not heard by the regulator if a dispute arises with the oil and gas industry that is the lifeblood of the provincial economy and a leading source of government revenues.
“The people who are the regular people are not being heard,” added Linde Turner, who made the drive from Drumheller and paid $31.50 to park in a downtown lot so she could support her former Rosebud neighbour. [Parking is free in Drumheller]
… Ernst’s statement of claim repeatedly refers to hydraulic fracturing although Encana contends that it applied more environmentally benign nitrogen gas fracks as per industry best practices [voluntary] for shallow gas reservoirs. … Encana was adamant: The company’s testing showed its wells did not cause Ernst’s water woes. … Ironically, if anything is evident from the last decade it’s that, boycott or not, Ernst isn’t about to walk away from this case any time soon. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
Alberta Geological Survey, last update September 11, 2012: It is common practice to stimulate a well to assist CBM production through artificial hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracing.”
EnerFAQs 08, ERCB’s role in ensuring that CBM development is conducted in an orderly, efficient, and responsible manner: For shallower wells, this includes particular attention to issues like drilling and the use of completion fluids, fracturing (breaking down a formation by pumping fluid at high pressures)
Firewater by Andrew Nikiforuk, August 14, 2006, Canadian Business Magazine
The shy 49-year-old oilpatch consultant says that the ongoing controversy has been a very unwelcome experience. “I’d rather be running my business in peace,” explains Ernst, who frequently works with major oil and gas firms and First Nations on northern wildlife issues. “But I had no choice. The regulators just didn’t do their due diligence.”…both industry and government emphasized that methane naturally occurred in the province’s groundwater. Alberta Environment noted that 906 water wells in the province had gas “assumed to be methane” in their water, and that nearly 26,000 water wells had coal seams present. That revelation merely alarmed Ernst. “It was all the more reason to do baseline testing before they drilled,” she says. “They knew. All the companies should have tested for dissolved methane and gas composition.”
Eau de feu (French Translation)
EUB [now ERCB] Bulletin 2005-33, December 9, 2005: Shallow Fracturing Operations: New Requirements, Restricted Operations, and Technical Review Incidents of shallow fracturing operations impacting nearby oilfield wells have been reported to the EUB. … The EUB has recently met with most major coalbed methane operators and service companies to discuss their fracturing practices, including program design. These discussions have indicated that design of fracture stimulations at shallow depths requires improved engineering design and a greater emphasis on protection of groundwater [Emphasis added] ]
Une critique boycotte l’audience d’Encana mais sa croisade contre la fracturation est loin d’être terminée French Translation of Stephen Ewart’s article above by Amie du Richelieu, January 21, 2013
Ernst vs Encana Report by Alberta Surface Rights Group, January 18, 2013
At the Courthouse:
Today was a full day at the courthouse in Calgary, attending the Ernst vs Encana trial. This was a day that focused on the ERCB’s contention that they couldn’t be held accountable for any negligence, or indeed, anything they did or didn’t do! The ERCB lawyer, Mr. Soloman, argued that the law in Alberta stated very clearly that the ERCB was immune from any kind of law suit! He stated that the ERCB had no obligation to ensure the protection of any individual Albertan! For the average person this seems almost incredible…….that the government would pass laws that basically give their own regulators and agents a free ride! It seems to me that there is something really wrong when there is one rule for the government……and another rule for everyone else!
The lawyer for Jessica Ernst, Murray Klippenstein, was up next and he quickly blew a few a few holes in the governments position! He stated that because the ERCB had refused to talk to Ms. Ernst (in fact refused to even open her letters when she was trying to find out about what happened to her water!) that the ERCB had denied her charter rights to Freedom of Expression. He masterfully hammered this point home again and again. Following Mr. Klippenstein was his young colleague, Corey Wannless, who shot all kinds of holes in Mr. Solomons version of Alberta’s laws! Mr. Wanless gave a very detailed and spirited presentation, citing dozens of examples of case law that seemed to cast doubt on the validity of the “etched in stone” statutes that Mr. Solomon had presented. The judge informed the court that she would not be able to render a decision today. She stated this was a very difficult and complicated case, with far reaching consequences, and she would take her time to study the briefings before making a ruling on what could become a landmark case!
It was also noted that the courtroom was filled to overflowing with the supporters of Ms. Ernst…..to the point that extra chairs had to be brought in! It was very apparent that Ms. Ernst’s battle for her rights and the protection of her property has raised some very deep concerns about the province we live in. Alberta has been slipping further and further away from what we thought it was……..A free country where all are treated fairly……into a place where big multi national oil corporations ride roughshod over the people! Ms. Ernst has become a symbol, a real folk hero, a modern day David standing up against Goliath!
On a final note: Mr. Klippenstein and Mr. Wanless clearly were better lawyers than the array of government and oil company lawyers lined up against them! Mr Klippenstein, from Toronto, is considered one of the top litigation lawyers in the country. Mr. Wanless, also practicing in Toronto, is a home town boy raised at Red Deer Alberta. His father, Gary Wanless, was a well known lawyer, doing a lot of good work for the Farmers Advocate Office and involved in many environmental projects, planting trees through out central Alberta.
The Province of Alberta versus Fracking Folk Hero Jessica Ernst by S. Tom Bond, January 17, 2013, FrackCheckWV
Multi-million dollar lawsuit over water contamination gets underway by Tamara Elliott, January 18, 2013 4:38 PM, Global News
Alberta’s oil and gas regulator has asked to be dropped from a multi-million dollar lawsuit against energy-giant Encana. Jessica Ernst, a resident of Rosebud, Alta. is suing the company for negligence causing water contamination. …
“Albertans deserve better,” Ernst told Global News. “We are so accommodating to oil and gas. We deserve to have our rights protected and our water our health our families our properties taken care of.”
On Friday, her lawyer told court that the regulatory body, ERCB, ignored her concerns. “The regulators who are supposed to be on top of these things and say they are—namely the ERCB—were negligent in not passing any rules to restrict them,” argues Murray Klippenstein. “When they knew there was a problem they did nothing.”
However, the ERCB’s lawyer argues it’s legally immune from being sued and wants to be removed from the lawsuit. Ernst did not attend court on Friday, because she had wanted the case to be heard in Drumheller so the community could attend. [Emphasis added]
Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board says it cannot be sued by a citizen by Kevin Martin, January 17, 2013, Calgary Sun
The Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board will apply Friday to have itself removed from a $33-million lawsuit alleging fracking contaminated an Alberta woman’s well water. Lawyer Glenn Solomon, in a brief filed with the court, says the government agency is immune from any litigation by an individual citizen.
Solomon will ask Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Barb Veldhuis to drop the ERCB as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Rosebud, Alta., resident Jessica Ernst. Ernst is seeking damages from Encana Corp., the ERCB and the province over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, processes done by the Calgary company to extract methane gas near her home.
She claims the procedure has contaminated underground aquifers in the area, including those that feed her well water on her rural property. “Encana’s (coalbed methane) activities at the Encana wells have caused the severe contamination of Ms. Ernst’s well water,” says her claim, filed by Toronto lawyer Murray Klippenstein. The company’s activities between 2001 and 2006 caused the release of previously fixed and immobile gases, it says. The effect contaminated “Ernst’s well water with hazardous and flammable levels of dissolved and gaseous methane and ethane,” the claim says.
Ernst, whose lawsuit has been filed at Drumheller Court of Queen’s Bench, seeks $11.7 million in damages from Encana, and $10.7 million each from both the ERCB and province. It claims the ERCB was negligent in not ensuring the wells it licenced Encana to drill didn’t contaminate her water.
But in his brief, Solomon says the agency can’t be sued by her. He says the Energy Resources Conservation Act prohibits legal action by individual citizens against the regulatory body, even those committed deliberately.
“The Legislature expressly exempted the ERCB from any liability in any actions brought against it by any private individuals,” Solomon says in his brief to the court. “As the immunity extends to ‘any act or thing done’ it includes not only negligence, but gross negligence, bad faith and even deliberate acts,” he wrote. Solomon will argue the agency owes a duty to the public as a whole and cannot be held accountable for acts which impact individuals. “The existence of a private duty of care would necessarily have the effect of compromising the ERCB’s express public duty to act ‘in the public interest,’” he wrote.
Statements of defence disputing Ernst’s allegation against the three defendants have not been filed. [Emphasis added]
Fight on to recover damages from fracking by CTV News Calgary, January 18, 2013
A landmark lawsuit in which an Alberta woman says fracking destroyed her water supply is mired in constitutional arguments before it even starts. … The argument centres around whether Alberta’s Energy Resource Conservaton Board can actually be sued for anything it does. The ERCB says under provincial law it can’t be sued for anything it does and that its name should be taken off the lawsuit. Ernst’s lawyer, Murray Klippenstein, contends that her right to free expression was violated because the ERCB ignored her complaints and even returned her letters unopened. Klippenstein says that the Charter of Rights trumps the ERCB’s provincial immunity.“Miss Ernst is arguing in court that her freedom of expression under the Charter, which is fundamental to the operation of a democratic society, should have allowed her to at least be heard in a minimal way at least by the ERCB. The ERCB didn’t like her criticisms of the board and for more than a year said we are not going to communicate with you at all,” said Klippenstien. Klippenstein says freedom of expression requires a government or a government agency not to slam the door in her face and to at least receive her communications. “The ERCB is claiming that the legislature has made it legally immune from law suits no matter what it does or what its motive. But what Miss Ernst is pointing out is that the Charter of Rights are constitutional and they override provincial legislation,” said Klippenstein.
A lawyer for the resource board says that provincial immunity extends to anything the ERCB does including negligence. The fifteenth floor courtroom was packed with rural landowners on Friday, who say the outcome of the case will affect property rights across the province.
Jan Slomp represents the Alberta section of the National Farmers Union and says the results of the hearing may have an impact on future cases. “Jessica is not alone. Jessica is the first one that has pursued it this far and so extensive, so well documented her case but she represents a lot of land owners, a lot of people in Alberta that feel step-by-step left out in terms of justice, in terms of equal playing fields with the energy exploration,” said Slomp. Slomp says he hopes the government will use the information to better regulate all sectors of energy exploration.
The case has not yet gone to trial and none of her allegations have been proven
French Translation of CTV News Calgary article above by Amie du Richelieu, January 21, 2013
Alberta government agency tries to dodge $33M fracking lawsuit by Sun Media, January 17th, 2013
The Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board is applying to have itself removed from a $33-million lawsuit alleging fracking contaminated an Alberta woman’s well water. Lawyer Glenn Solomon, in a brief filed with the court, says the government agency is immune from any litigation by an individual citizen. Solomon will ask the court to drop the ERCB as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Rosebud, Alta., resident Jessica Ernst. Ernst is suing Encana Corp., the ERCB and the province over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, processes done by the Calgary company to extract methane gas near her home. She claims the procedure has contaminated underground aquifers in the area, including those that feed her well water on her rural property. The process contaminated “Ernst’s well water with hazardous and flammable levels of dissolved and gaseous methane and ethane,” says her claim. … But Solomon says the Energy Resources Conservation Act prohibits legal action by individuals against the regulatory body. “The legislature expressly exempted the ERCB from any liability in any actions brought against it by any private individuals,” Solomon says in his brief. “As the immunity extends to ‘any act or thing done’ it includes not only negligence, but gross negligence, bad faith and even deliberate acts,” he wrote. Statements of defence have not been filed.
The Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board is applying to have itself removed from a $33-million lawsuit alleging fracking contaminated an Alberta woman’s well water by Kevin Martin, January 17, 2013, QMI Agency
Lawyer Glenn Solomon, in a brief filed with the court, says the government agency is immune from any litigation by an individual citizen. Solomon will ask the court to drop the ERCB as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Rosebud, Alta., resident Jessica Ernst. Ernst is suing Encana Corp., the ERCB and the province over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, processes done by the Calgary company to extract methane gas near her home. She claims the procedure has contaminated underground aquifers in the area, including those that feed her well water on her rural property. … Her suit claims the ERCB was negligent in not ensuring the wells it licenced Encana to drill didn’t contaminate her water. But Solomon says the Energy Resources Conservation Act prohibits legal action by individuals against the regulatory body. “The legislature expressly exempted the ERCB from any liability in any actions brought against it by any private individuals,” Solomon says in his brief.
“As the immunity extends to ‘any act or thing done’ it includes not only negligence, but gross negligence, bad faith and even deliberate acts,” he wrote.
Statements of defence have not been filed.
Stand up w Ernst and Tell Big Oil to Frack Off!! by Janice Plante, January 18, 2013, Global Alternative Blogspot
On the other hand here we have a perfectly “pure” (at least pure intentioned; not running for a political seat) spokesperson standing up for all of our rights and taking Encana to task and suing for the contamination of her well water and all others in the area of Rosebud, Alberta. But hey guess what, if she can win (hopefully since the defense is pretty lame), she will set a standard/precedence for EVERYONE in Canada. The precedent will be set and a message will be sent to all BIG OIL Co’s. that it is:
Not acceptable to contaminate the drinking water of one or many people!! …
This is the message that needs to go out!!! NO MORE and ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. The groundwater contamination is measurable and has been going on for at least 10 years, while the gov’t keeps letting them profit hugely and carry on business as usual and play dumb (it’s not proven). If you don’t look for the proof of cause and effect, then it will never be “Proven”, and further, they say, they have no burden to look for that link (not my job man). Well then who’s job is it? I would have believed that it is the regulatory body’s – whoever they are – responsibility to ensure the public’s and the greater environmental protection. The USA’s EPA is trying to skirt this responsibility as well. Again, I would have to ask, what have these people been doing all these years (being paid the big bucks)?
Can we make this stop? Can we support Jessica Ernst? Absolutely!! and it is in EVERYONE’s best interest to do so. Piss on waiting for some “talks and meetings” with Harper. This is HERE and NOW. Let’s go. If you are in Alberta, show up on the court house steps and DEMAND action. Demand that this hearing proceed without all the stall tactics that are business as usual to all the parties that have something to lose; the ones that want the complainant to either: a) run out of money; b) run out of all support and resources: c) die and/or give up.
Damn them, that they can keep getting away with those stall tactics and the courts support those tactics. Disgusting. I think the gov’t (ERCB – Energy Resouces Conservation Board) agency, by stating such a lame defense; that they are “not responsible for a duty of care”. Excuse me? If that is not their mandate, whose is it? [Emphasis added]
Excerpt: (from The Tyee): 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 by Andrew Nikiforuk, 16 Jan 2013, TheTyee.ca
Energy board’s ‘duty of care’ stops where?
A common complaint among Alberta landowners is that the ERCB reacts slowly to public concerns. It was one of the continent’s last oil and gas regulators, for example, to table regulations on hydraulic fracturing.
Several recent court decisions also show that ERCB has a history of not upholding its own laws.
In 2010 the Royal Society of Canada, the nation’s top scientific organization, criticized the board for 2007 incident in which the regulator spied on landowners and damaged “its credibility as independent quasi-judicial board.”
In a court document filed on Dec. 5, 2012 lawyers representing the ERCB argue that a regulator charged to develop oil and gas resources in the public interest owes no duty of care to protect a citizen’s groundwater.
Furthermore the Ernst lawsuit does “not indicate omissions on the part of the ERCB but a failure of the ERCB to act in accordance with the Plaintiff’s expectations.”
Jessica Ernst goes to court today: Alberta government argues they have “no duty of care” by Ban Michigan Fracking, January 18, 2013
We stand with Jessica Ernst as she faces Encana and the Alberta government in court today. Her courage to seek truth and justice, and demand accountability from the gas industry and the government, is an inspiration to people worldwide. We, in Michigan, appreciate her sincerity and kindness in spreading the word about the dangers of fracking and making the trip here to meet with us.
Fracking lawsuit goes back to court by QR77 Newsroom, January 17, 2013
A woman who claims her drinking water became contaminated by Encana’s fracking practices a few years back is now suing the company, as well as the Energy Resources Conservation Board. Jessica Ernst, from Rosebud, near Drumheller, says it was time to act, “I realized when I began to discover that they’re planning to frack everywhere, including in Calgary within 70 metres of known zones of sour gas, I believed I had no choice but to do the lawsuit.” Ernst says she included the ERCB in the lawsuit because she feels the agency has been siding with Encana in this case and treating her rather poorly.
Calgary judge hears $33M lawsuit over natural gas drilling, Rosebud, Alta., woman says drilling contaminated her water supply by CBC News, January 18, 2013
On Friday, lawyers representing the ERCB told the judge that as the provincial regulator, it is not obligated to give priority to individual people over the general public, so it should be immune from any private lawsuit. … The Calgary courtroom is packed with about 50 landowners who are observing the case because they also have concerns about the effects of fracking. [‘La salle d’audience de Calgary est bondée de propriétaires terriens qui assistent au procès parce qu’ils disent qu’ils ont eux aussi des préoccupations sur les effets de la fracturation hydraulique.’ ] Jan Slomp, who is with the National Farmers Union, was there. “I think this is a landmark case. It represents the worry landowners and property owners have across Alberta with the impact of oil and gas industry and the worries about pollution and the effects and water, air and the environment,” Slomp said.
Nadia Stewart, CBC journalist on Twitter, January 18, 2013:
“ERCB counsel says Jessica Ernst is dragging it and herself through needless litigation.” [‘L’avocat de la ERCB dit que Jessica Ernst la traîne en cour, la commission et elle-même, avec des litiges inutiles.’]
ERCB lawyer: “This is not a claim that is novel, this is a claim that is wrong.”
ERCB lawyer has wrapped up his submissions. FYI: Ernst isn’t here today. Lawyer to explain why shortly.
Jessica Ernst’s lawyer speaking now on her behalf. Ernst feels strongly this case should have been heard in Drumheller.
Ernst says this is a precedent setting case. She will continue to ask case be heard in Drumheller court.
In response, judge says she respects Ernst’s feelings but, after speaking with Chief Justice, it was decided case would be held in [Calgary]
Procès marquant reprend à la cour de Calgary en Alberta-Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors by: Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors via Marketwire, January 17, 2013, CBSNews.com
Un juge de Calgary se penche sur une poursuite de 33 millions de dollars contre Encana by Radio-Canada.ca, le vendredi 18 janvier 2013
Un juge de Calgary entend la cause d’une femme qui soutient que les travaux de fracturation d’Encana ont contaminé son eau, afin de décider si sa poursuite pourra aller de l’avant. Jessica Ernst, résidente de Rosebud, à 120 km au nord-est de Calgary, a lancé une poursuite de 33 millions de dollars contre Encana, le gouvernement albertain et la Régie de contrôle des ressources énergétiques de l’Alberta (ERCB) en 2011. Mme Ernst a affirmé qu’il y avait tellement de méthane dans l’eau provenant de son robinet qu’elle pouvait y mettre le feu. Elle attribue la présence du méthane aux travaux de fracturation hydraulique de l’entreprise albertaine. … Vendredi, les avocats représentant l’ERCB ont indiqué au juge qu’en tant qu’organisme provincial de réglementation, la Régie n’était pas dans l’obligation de privilégier des intérêts individuels au détriment des intérêts publics et qu’elle était protégée de toute poursuite privée. La salle d’audience est remplie de propriétaires de terrains qui se sentent concernés par les effets de la fracturation hydraulique. [Calgary courtroom was packed yesterday]
Le juge soutient que la cause de la plaignante est complexe et n’a pris aucune décision vendredi.