Another victory for Jessica Ernst, a well known Canadian activist and friend of Irish anti-fracking campaign. The Goverment of the province of Alberta won’t appeal the decision to allow Ernst to sue, representing a big landmark for the anti-fracking movement. This step came after a judge dismissed all the key arguments made by the Alberta goverment against her $33m lawsuit last November.
Ernst, who worked in the oil industry for 30 years, has been keeping up a legal fight since 2007 against the Alberta Government after the fracking operations of the energy company Encana contaminanted her water well with methane and other chemichal fluids in 2001. She accused the provincial goverment bodies, in charge of protecting the environment and the regulating the oil and gas industry in Alberta, of failing to follow the investigation and enforcement processes that they had established and publicised to protect local communities from polutions of the fracking process. The provincial bodies tried to silence her, even calling her a “terrorist”.
The lawsuit, which breaks ground for more people and communities affected by the fracking industry in Alberta, which is the the biggest oil producing province in Canada, can now continue. Ernst visited Ireland in 2013 at the invitation of the anti-fracking campaign to explain her experiences of dealing with the consequences of fracking and how she was fighting them.