Take Action

I have some exciting news to share, these last few months have been crazy but I’m hoping things are finally starting to settle for me. In two months I moved twice, I started school, and today I interviewed and was accepted for an early practicum! I’m extremely excited about the opportunity and I really feel that all the bad things that happened to me were absolutely blessings in disguise! Getting lied to and then laid off, only to find out my boyfriend was cheating forced me to move out of the city to my parents farm, I was home so I could ride but then I broke my pelvis. Because of my injury I couldn’t start at SAIT in September as I had planned, so I had to find something else. I go to Robertson College Calgary and am enrolled in the Legal Administrative Assistant program. I had never heard of Robertson before I had to start searching for an option other than SAIT. I’m so happy I found it, I love the teachers, the small class sizes and the fact that my program is a year and a half shorter than the same program I was going to take at SAIT! Now I have a chance to start my career that much sooner, and I feel like a real life adult- 2013 is going to be amazing!

Since I moved I’ve been doing the literal MOUNTAIN of laundry I have, and the idea of doing a challenge came to me; WEAR EVERY ITEM IN MY CLOSET ONCE BEFORE I RE-WEAR. I have a RIDICULOUS amount of clothes, moving them is super annoying, and laundry is a terrible chore which I would love to abolish. So I’ll try to wear everything and post photos, and then do a mountain of laundry again at the end! I promise there will be lots of outfit posts to come!!!

In the meantime, allow me this digression from my usual vanity into the dirty world of government corruption, big business and the oil and gas industry.

This Friday, January 18th, 2013 in the Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench, Judge B. L. Veldhuis will hear the defendants’ applications in Jessica Ernst’s multi-million dollar suit naming Encana, the Energy Resource Conservation Board and the Alberta Government as responsible for contaminating her water well and gross negligence, when dangerous man made chemicals, as well as massive amounts of naturally occuring methane, inundated her well in 2005.

I know Jessica because the same thing happened to my families water well, just a few miles down the Rosebud River valley. It was here that Encana knowingly conducted experimental methods of coal bed methane extraction using hydraulic fracturing into shallow coal seams, perforating the aquifer that the water wells we use for bathing, cooking and drinking draw from- and we have proof. My family is followed in the documentary Burning Water if you are interested in our story, while Jessica chose to pursue litigation. If you haven’t watched the film, or aren’t planning on it, I’ll spoil the ending for you. My families claims were dismissed out of hand, Encana and the ERCB were absolved of any responsibility and were given the go ahead to continue fracking with immunity. The corruption seen in the golden age of oil here in Alberta made it impossible for regulators to act in the best interest in the public.  Our case was closed, we moved away from the  farm which no longer had usable water and tried to move on. This is why its SO important to me that Jessica Ernst be heard fairly in court. The best way for us to be sure of that is to uphold our civil duty as Albertan’s and BE THERE TO BE HEARD. Governments and corporations should not be allowed to act with immunity because of the financial gains, and as citizens we must recognize that this is indeed the case with the long reigning conservative government here in Alberta and we MUST stand up before it is too late to act. There is already a bill set in motion trying to make the regulations even more streamlined for MORE coal bed methane development. Industry has the go ahead to frack, and Encana, headquartered right here in Calgary, Alberta, is found innocent of any negligence or wrong doing in our case but was found guilty and heavily fined in Colorado, USA, in a case bearing striking similarities to our own- for more also check out the documentary Gasland.

“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. shall be found in violation of Rule 209. failure to prevent the contamination of fresh water by gas, Rule 301., failure to notify the Director when public health or safety is in jeopardy and failure to notify the Director of significant downhole problems or mechanical failure, Rule 317.i., failure to pump cement 200′ above the top of the shallowest producing horizon, Rule 324A., impacts to water quality, Rule 327., loss of well control and allowing an underground blowout of gas, and Rule 910.a., failure to meet ground water standards in Table 910-1.” Source

Though our complaint (keep in mind it was an official review, not a lawsuit) was officially closed with the government, Jessica filed a Statement of Claim first in Drumheller, Alberta, the court closest to the Plaintiffs home, and to the cause of action. The case was later moved to the Calgary Court of Queens Bench at the request and convenience of the defendants, Encana Corp. The original claim was amended and shortened at the request of Judge Veldhuis and revised to Fresh Statement of Claim, in it Mrs. Ernst is seeking damages in excess of $30,000,000.00 CAD for the gross negligence of government regulators as well as on the part of Encana Corp. On Friday the defendants applications will be heard and I am looking forward to seeing what the Judge and the defendants have to say. If you have any interest in the matter, or any interest in water safety regulations, come to the Court of Queens Bench Calgary tomorrow and show your support for Jessica Ernst, winner of the UN International Women of Courage Award, and stand up for your water rights!

It is critically important and failure to act could have devastating global consequences as fracking spreads all over the world. Instead of trying to come up with new ways to get the difficult to capture gas out, the focus instead must be on alternate fuel sources. Imagine the jobs that would be created if as a society, as a species, humans moved away from fossil fuels and used technology that is already available to make our existence work with what the earth has given us, rather than relentlessly taking until nothing is left. The excuse that the worlds economy would collapse if we move away from oil and gas is ridiculous and propagated in order to pursue their agenda  not in the best interest of the public, or even of society as a whole.

For more information about Jessica Ernst and the lawsuit visit her website. For more information about my families story search through the Eco-Activism category, or check here, here and here. See also the Burning Water tab at the very top of the page.

Have a wonderful weekend, and take some time to think about the future, xo, a

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