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Landmark Fracking Case Gets a Supreme Court Hearing

Landmark Fracking Case Gets a Supreme Court Hearing

Oil patch consultant Jessica Ernst alleges Alberta has intimidated landowners.

The Supreme Court of Canada said today that it will hear thelandmark case of Jessica Ernst, which squarely challenges how the Alberta government has treated landowners and regulated hydraulic fracturing.

The decision both stunned and exhilarated the 57-year-old Ernst.

“I’ve always known my case was important for water and all Canadians, that’s why I am taking this legal stand,” said Ernst who lives in Rosebud, Alberta.

“The court will now hear my appeal that provincial energy regulators not be legally immune from violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when trying to intimidate citizens harmed by fracking,” added Ernst. Her stand against the industry and the Alberta government has made her a folk hero throughout North America and parts of Europe.

However, a win at the Supreme Court does not mean that she will win her lawsuit, explained Ernst to the Tyee. “It means I would be sent back to the lower court in Alberta to begin my lawsuit against the Alberta Energy Regulator. It means still a very long, hard, expensive journey.”

The Supreme Court only hears about four per cent of all civil Charter claims brought to its doorstep.

Eight years ago, oil patch consultant Ernst sued Alberta Environment, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and Encana, one of Canada’s largest unconventional gas drillers, over the contamination of her well water with hydrocarbons and the failure of government authorities to properly investigate the fouling of groundwater.


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