Judge Allows Landowner to Sue Alberta Energy Regulator for Fracking Impacts
Alberta is considering whether to appeal a court ruling that allows landowner Jessica Ernst to sue the province’s energy regulator, alongside Calgary-based EnCana, for the impacts she says she’s seen from hydraulic fracturing.
The story began a decade ago when Ernst “startled Albertans with video of her drinking water catching fire as it flowed from the kitchen tap in her Rosebud-area farm east of Calgary,” the Edmonton Journal notes.
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Ernst says fracking “has so badly contaminated her well with methane that the water can be set on fire,” the Globe and Mail reports. But when she sued in 2007, the province tried to separate itself from the suit, claiming immunity from legal action.
Chief Justice Neil Wittmann of Court of Queen’s Bench found that “there is a reasonable prospect that Ernst’s claim that she is owed a private duty of care will succeed,” the Globe notes. “There is also a reasonable prospect that Ernst will succeed in defeating Alberta’s statutory immunity claims,” the judge said. (h/t to Energy Mix subscriber Gary Martin for pointing us to this story)