• Alberta woman sues oil industry
    An Alberta woman believes that fracking has caused her water to become flammable

Fuel for Thought

Alberta woman sues oil industry

Jun 13 2011

A woman is suing the Canadian government and oil industry over contaminated water at her property.

Jessica Ernst, from Rosebud in Alberta, Canada, claims that when oil companies drilled for gas in her area in 2003, using a process called fracking, it caused her water to become contaminated with methane gas.

Fracking involves pumping water or nitrogen into the ground at high levels of pressure in order to cause a series of cracks to release natural gas, which is then collected by the firms.

Ms Ernst claims that the process has caused a methane leak which is contaminating her water, making it flammable from the tap, and has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against energy-giant EnCana (TSX:ECA), Alberta Environment and the Energy Resources Conservation Board, in which she accuses them of negligence and unlawful activities.

"The connection between water wells and natural gas development in Rosebud has been studied extensively, including a detailed study by the Alberta Research Council," says Alan Boras, EnCana’s vice-president of media relations.

He claims that the investigation proves there is "no relation" between fracking and contaminated water, adding that research suggests the methane in underground water supplies originates from coal seams.

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