Le juge en chef de l'Alberta rejette l'attaque du gouvernement de
l'Alberta dans le dossier de contamination de l'eau de Rosebud - mais
écarte l'action contre le ERCB, le régulateur énergétique principal de
(French translation of advisory: http://www.ernstversusencana.ca/the-lawsuit)
ROSEBUD, AB, Oct. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - The practice of hydraulic fracturing -
injecting fluids (gases or liquids, sand and toxic chemicals) under
high pressure to shatter deep and shallow rock to stimulate
hydrocarbons to flow - has raised serious economic, political, legal,
health and environmental issues around the world.
In a judgment recently released by the Alberta Court of Queen's bench, Chief Justice
Neil Wittmann ruled on the first skirmishes in a landmark multi-million
dollar claim by Jessica Ernst against EnCana, Alberta Environment and
the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) regarding water
contamination caused by fraccing.
Key parts of the judgment include:
The court rejected the Government of Alberta's attempt to attack
portions of the lawsuit, thereby paving the way for the claim against
the Government of Alberta to proceed.
Justice Wittmann agreed there were valid claims asserted against the
ERCB for breaching Ms. Ernst's fundamental and constitutional right to
freedom of expression. The court also found "the ERCB cannot rely on
its argument on the Weibo eco-terrorism claim, in the total absence of
evidence. There is none." However, the court found that the Alberta
government had granted complete immunity to the ERCB for all legal
claims, including for breaches of constitutional rights.
Chief Justice Wittmann also ruled the ERCB does not owe any legally
enforceable duties to protect individual landowners from the harmful
effects of fraccing, after the ERCB argued in court it had total
immunity for "not only negligence, but gross negligence, bad faith and
even deliberate acts," and therefore Albertans simply could not sue the
ERCB, no matter how badly they were harmed by the ERCB's acts. Ms.
Ernst was ordered to pay the ERCB's costs.
Ms. Ernst has instructed her legal counsel to appeal the decision to
dismiss the lawsuit against the ERCB.
"I think Albertans will be disturbed to learn that their energy
regulator has total and blanket immunity, even in cases where the
regulator has breached the fundamental and constitutional free speech
rights of a landowner," said Murray Klippenstein, lead legal counsel
for Ms. Ernst.
"It is very worrying that citizens are unable to hold the energy
regulator accountable for failing to protect citizens from the harmful
impacts of fraccing," said Cory Wanless, co-counsel for Ms. Ernst. "If
the energy regulator won't protect citizens, who will?"
For more information, including Encana's Statement of Defence: http://www.ernstversusencana.ca/the-lawsuit
For further information:
Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors:
(416) 598-0288 or (416) 937-8634
(416) 598-0288 or (647) 886-1914
Jessica Ernst: 1-403-677-2074