Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Tyee – Encana Files Defence in Lawsuit with Fracking Folk Hero

The Tyee – Encana Files Defence in Lawsuit with Fracking Folk Hero
In addition, the claim details how Alberta's energy regulators, the Energy Resources Conservation Board and Alberta Environment "failed to follow the investigation and enforcement processes that they had established and publicized," despite direct evidence of industry-caused pollution and public admissions that shallow fracturing puts groundwater at risk.
"Encana now says that they didn't frack the wells. Yet Encana's own data says they fracked the wells," Ernst told The Tyee.*
Encana letters dated 2006 and 2012 obtained by The Tyee directly refer to "the drilling, perforating and fracking" of coal bed methane seams in the area.
A legal response to Encana's statement of defence adds that "'hydraulic fracturing' is defined as the process of stimulating a well by injecting fracturing fluids (whether liquid or gas) at high rates and high pressure into the perforated zone(s) of the well to create new fractures and enlarge existing fractures in the underground formations for the purpose of releasing and encouraging the flow of hydrocarbons."
Ernst also said that Encana did offer to test her water well, but the gesture resembled a Monty Python sketch.
In one case "they offered to test my water well in a registered letter with a limited deadline of acceptance. They mailed it to me 24 days after the deadline," she alleged.
Unknown chemicals
Ernst claimed she repeatedly told the company that they could test her water well as soon as Encana released a list of its fracking chemicals, so that groundwater technicians would know what contaminants to test for. She said the company refused.
According to Canada's auditor general, more than 800 chemicals have been used to frack open more than 200,000 oil and gas wells in recent decades. At least 33 of the substances are known carcinogens. Both Environment Canada and Health Canada admit that "a complete list of substances used in Canada is not known."
Two recent studies confirm the widespread contamination of water wells in areas of high drilling and fracking activity.
A study by the University of Texas found often dangerous levels of arsenic, barium, selenium and strontium in groundwater near the heavily fracked Barnett shale gas fields.
A Pennsylvania study discovered methane contamination in 82 per cent of drinking water samples taken from rural homes just one kilometre away from fracked natural gas wells in the Marcellus formation. They also found evidence of ethane and propane contamination.
The study concluded that, "Overall, our data suggest that some homeowners living less than one kilometre from gas wells have drinking water contaminated with stray gases."

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