Contaminated Water from Fracking: Who are Responsible When Things Go Wrong?


September 17, 2015 :: Andrew Nikiforuk
Moderated by Bobbi Cullum

The fossil fuel industry tout hydraulic fracturing, “fracking”, as a win-win, with slick promises of energy independence, greenhouse gas reduction, and benefits to local communities. Yet the questionable technology, which blasts massive volumes of water, sand, and chemicals into rock and coal formations, has sparked a huge public outcry. The speaker will describe why fracking is, at best, controversial and tell the inspiring story of one woman’s stand to hold government and industry accountable for the damage fracking can leave in its wake.

After energy giant Encana fracked numerous gas wells around her home and her well water turned to a flammable broth, Jessica Ernst started asking questions. When she put forward evidence that Encana had violated policies by fracturing her community's drinking water aquifer, Ernst was falsely tagged as a terrorist and visited by the government’s anti-terrorism squad. Frightened but undaunted, she uncovered an apparent history of liability, fraud, and intimidation, along with a willful denial of widespread groundwater contamination. Her remarkable story raises legitimate questions about big oil’s influence on Alberta’s energy regulator, AER.

Speaker: Andrew Nikiforuk

Andrew Nikiforuk has been writing about the oil and gas industry for many years and cares deeply about accuracy, government accountability, and cumulative impacts. He has won seven National Magazine Awards for his journalism since 1989 and top honours for investigative writing from the Association of Canadian Journalists. Andrew has also published several books, among them, Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil, won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction in 2002. The Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent, which considers the world’s largest energy project, was a national bestseller and won the 2009 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.
Andrew’s book, Empire of the Beetle, is a startling look at pine beetles and the world’s most powerful landscape changer and was nominated for the Governor General’s award for Non-Fiction in 2011. The Energy of Slaves, 2012, gives a radical analysis of our master-and-slave relationship to energy and a call for change. His latest book, Slick Water, asserts Jessica Ernst’s court battles for justice.

Moderator: Bobbi Cullum
Date: Thursday, Sep 17, 2015
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM (30 minutes each for presentation, lunch and Q & A)
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (lower level of the Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S
Cost: $11.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea at the presentation)


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