Oldman River Water Tribute Lethbridge Alberta, June 8, 2014
Jessica Ernst’s statement read at the tribute by Rena Woss:
Thank you for honouring me, and inviting me to your Oldman River Water Tribute.
A wise community learns from the mistakes of others.
A healthy community knows it’s OK to be opposed to the oil and gas industry.
Lethbridge watched the frac mistakes happen everywhere else and said “No!”
Rena, you asked me this:
“I’m beginning to believe that if we can legislate protection of water, all else will fall into place. What do you think?”
We have water protection legislated in Alberta, in our Water Act. It is an excellent act, but companies intentionally violate it, regulators and law makers let them and now the oil and gas industry controls it under the AER.
Encana violated the Water Act when they diverted fresh water from their gas well frac’d into Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers, yet I can’t get my lawsuit to move anywhere but backwards. Is water protection legislation working in Alberta? No.
Protecting water is not going to come from any law or legislators. It will only come from community.
Blow kisses to the river for me, all those attending and to Lethbridge – wise, wonderful, healthy community.
Protecting our water should be a priority by Rena Woss, June 5, 2014, Lethbridge Herald
This rhetoric sounds good but actions prove otherwise. Our water, air and soil have never been in greater peril and scientists across the country have never been more alarmed as federal budgets to research programs of water, ocean habitat, climate change and public health care are destroyed or cut to the bone. Lax environmental controls have made it possible for industry to use water as a commodity rather than the life-giving force it is. Lakes and rivers have been allowed to be infiltrated with over 70,000 different water contaminants. Over 40 per cent of lakes in America are too polluted for fishing, aquatic life or swimming.
So much destruction in less than 100 years! How does this happen? Is it not due to government and public apathy; of electing people who are not informed; who have their priorities wrong?
The water in our locale has also been compromised by industry. To make matters worse, the Alberta government was prepared to increase the threat – selling mineral rights to Goldenkey Oil for the purpose of drilling and fracking inside our city. Fracking would have contaminated millions of gallons of fresh water, turning it from wholesome to a hazardous waste.
It’s mind boggling to think that our government would allow this anywhere, let alone here in Lethbridge – a semi-arid part of the province where water is scarce and droughts are frequent, all for the sake of creating energy when energy can safely be created with our abundant renewable resources of sun and wind.
To raise awareness of the need to protect water, Lethbridge is holding a water tribute this Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Indian Battle Park. Our community “Tribute to the Oldman River” may be the first of its kind in Canada where government officials and the citizen are standing up and speaking out for the protection of our most precious resource – water. I hope many will join in this historic event.
Check out the website http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-pollution for more information about this issue.
Oil company withdraws plans to drill inside Lethbridge city limits by Michael Wright, May 2, 2014, Calgary Herald
Goldenkey’s plans, known as the Penny Project, had generated considerable opposition in the community.
The “No Drilling Lethbridge” group gathered more than 13,000 signatures in a petition opposing it and lobbied local and provincial politicians.
Hill said the community opposition was a factor in Goldenkey’s withdrawal.
No Drilling Lethbridge spokesman Dave McCaffrey said the group was “tremendously proud” of the community in fighting the drilling project. [Emphasis added]
Image from cartoon by C Abel
Slide from Ernst presentation in Lethbridge, March 25, 2015
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