2017 02 17: Brilliant! MUST LISTEN! BNN Interviews Alberta Oil Patch Consultant Brent Nimeck on Lexin and AER’s Orphan Wells: “This problem is 30 years in the making. … I would call it a Ponzi Scheme…. This is an orchestrated fraud from multiple angles: Industry, CAPP and the Alberta Energy Regulator have enabled this to happen. … Through our independent analysis and we’ve confirmed this at multiple sources within the energy regulator, the liabilities are over $300 billion. That’s what’s on the hook for Alberta taxpayers right now – $300 billion.”
The Coddling of the Alberta Mind, In the current provincial election, no politician wants to saddle up and tell the truth by Andrew Nikiforuk, 8 Apr 2019, TheTyee.ca
Oil, a commodity that nurtures dependency, has so coddled the Alberta mind that it has fostered a provincial culture of victimization as poisonous as the identity politics unsettling university campuses.
If oil were a young university student, Alberta’s politicians would now play the role of paranoid helicopter parents or politically correct campus administrators.
Every day the province’s oil-obsessed politicos warn Albertans that Canada is a dangerous place full of self-righteous climate activists (and some are indeed self-righteous), anti-pipeline protestors, dumb courts, stubborn First Nations, and nasty liberals.
Moreover the province’s potential for offence-taking has become as grand as Justin Trudeau’s vindictive Liberal Party of Canada. It can’t tolerate any truth-telling either.
The province’s allergy to criticism has grown so formidable that United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney proposes to set up a Saudi-like war room in the energy ministry to respond to any micro-aggressions and offensive material. Should it be called Snowflake Central?
Albertans have become such a fragile, oil-reliant people, reasons Kenney, that the province now needs the equivalent of university Bias Response Teams, in this case to foster “a safe and inclusive environment” for its petroleum exporters who have now claimed Alberta’s identity as their own.
(The rulers of Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Russia, we should remember, don’t much like oil critics, either. The political records show that oil relishes conflict and breeds political aggression like no other commodity, except cocaine.)
Kenney, a belligerent proponent of oil-safetyism, would much rather play the blame game than accept the truth that the rapid development of bitumen mining in Fort McMurray violated two fundamental principles of risk mitigation: go slow and save the money.
Over many years, Alberta’s Tories repeatedly gambled that the price of bitumen, a garbage crude that requires upgrading and complex refining, could only go higher, and they bet wrong.
So did the NDP, another oil-coddled entity. (And yes, Albertans should be very angry about the gross mismanagement of their gas and oil resources by their elected politicians.)
According to former Encana CEO Gwyn Morgan, another whiner of the highest order, Alberta’s most important industry has been stomped on by bad people.
(As every adherent of identity politics knows, life is a constant battle between good and evil people. God forbid that Canadians see each other as brothers and sisters.)
Morgan, who chaired SNC-Lavalin during the Libya scandal and boldly tookno responsibility for that fiasco, recently argued in the Financial Post that the “drastic decline” of Canada’s oil industry is due to “a combination of ideological antagonism to fossil fuels and tunnel vision.”
Apparently, ideology caused oil prices to crash in 2014, and the overproduction of bitumen and tight oil had nothing to do with that bitter event, which left 40,000 Albertans jobless.
Art Berman, a respected Houston oil analyst and no greenie, has a much higher respect for the truth.
He recently documented how combined Canadian and U.S. unconventional oil production from the tar sands and Permian Basin “surged in 2014 and caused oil prices to collapse.” As prices fell, producers — including OPEC — rejected any production cuts.
Yet to this day you’ll never hear an Alberta or federal politician, let alone Morgan, acknowledge how Canadian oilsands production helped precipitate the global oil price crash of 2014. (Delusion appears to be a reliable Canadian political trait for both the left and the right.)
Alberta’s political elites would never let the facts spoil the celebration of Alberta’s victimhood or the province’s politically correct view of petroleum as the Walt Disney of resources.
In Morgan’s pity analysis, 44 years of one-party rule in Alberta by the Tories played no role in Alberta’s current predicament.
But the facts show that the Conservative governments foolishly eschewed any value-added policy for the province’s junk crude, and instead promoted a low royalty regime, which encouraged the export of raw bitumen — a dismal strategy that has enriched U.S. refineries and the Koch brothers.
No matter. Those damn oil-hating and U.S.-funded tar sands campaigners are to blame for Alberta’s bad oil rap, argues Mark Scholz, president of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors in the Calgary Herald.
According to Scholz, a bunch of celebrities and “a glorious campaign of Houdini-like misdirection” are somehow responsible for the cancelling of two bitumen export pipelines, carbon taxes, and everything else that has gone wrong in Alberta.
Of course the high carbon content of bitumen and its extreme price volatility have nothing to do with declining investment in the oil sands.
The facts also tell a different story about the two cancelled pipelines. A federal court cancelled Northern Gateway’s permit (and the Harper government choose not to revive that proposal) while market conditions claimed the Energy East pipeline.
Although proponents of Energy East claimed it would end the import of Saudi oil into eastern Canada, David Hughes, a well-known Canadian energy analyst notes that eastern refineries in New Brunswick aren’t designed to process much heavy oil.
So an Energy East pipeline, if ever built, could not really put a dent in U.S. or Saudi oil imports.
Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the industry’s powerful lobby group, also claims victimhood. “We have been the victims of a very well-orchestrated, well-planned foreign-funded attack on Canadian infrastructure,” he recently tweeted.
But Hughes notes oil sands production has grown by 376 per cent since 2000. If there was a “foreign-funded attack” it’s been grossly ineffective, he says.
Hughes adds that “the reason that there is a pipeline bottleneck is that the industry has been so successful in growing production.”
NDP Premier Rachel Notley also presents Alberta as fragile player unfairly dumped upon by bad actors in British Columbia and elsewhere.
Her vocabulary consists of pipelines, pipelines and pipelines.
Alberta can’t get full value for its bitumen “because we can’t move the product to market.”
And dastardly environmentalists have created a situation where “we are leaving world oil markets — and in some cases Eastern Canadian markets — to the Russians and the Saudis — countries that don’t care a whit about climate change or the environment.”
Yet research done for Alberta Innovates, a taxpayer-funded nonprofit, revealed that no real price advantage for bitumen exists in Asia.
The best and most lucrative market remains U.S. Gulf Coast refineries because they can handle complex heavy oil.
And what oil-exporting nation, other than Norway, truly gives a damn about climate change or the environment? They simply don’t exist.
Coddling a mind is a terrible thing, but coddling a province is a social disaster.
In the current election campaign, no politician wants to pony up and tell the truth.
It wasn’t foreigners or bad actors who created Alberta’s failings; it was Albertans and their damn greed and lack of strategic planning.
Albertans share the blame for the 2014 oil price collapse with U.S. tight oil producers (price discounts and lack of pipelines clobbered Permian producers too), and Albertans share blame for the province’s collective failure to add value to bitumen. (The more value you add, the fewer pipelines you need.)
Albertans, and only Albertans, share the blame for not collecting their fair share and saving for a rainy day.
So stop your whining and end the blame game. Cowboy up and own your oil-based problems, and recognize that the Alberta government has not responded competently to structural changes in oil and gas markets.
Recognize you’ve got both revenue and spending problems that could be a death spiral for the province.
Admit that exporting carbon-rich oil comes with high risks and that exporting more oil and building more pipelines will increase those risks.
And stop pretending that business as usual will dig Alberta out of the hole it has dug for itself.
Morgan, Kenney, Notley and the rest of Alberta-Is-Only-Oil gang might want to start with some cognitive behavioural therapy, or better still, sit down and read Butcher’s Crossing.
It’s a great novel about a buffalo hunt by the Texas writer John Williams. Some say it is probably the best western ever written — even better than True Grit — and I agree.
It tells the story of a couple of buffalo hunters who journey to Colorado for a grand slaughter with visions of prosperity.
But once the hunters locate their prey, they grow so obsessed with greed and bloodletting that winter overtakes them and traps them in the mountains.
The killers emerge from a gruelling snowy ordeal months later, only to discover that the markets for buffalo hides have crashed.
A dejected hide-buyer explains the ruinous facts. “The bottom’s dropped out of the whole market. The hide business is finished. For good.”
Oil is not finished yet, and the prospects for heavy oil remain solid in the U.S. Gulf Coast. The oil sands will shrink, but they will not disappear for decades.
But Alberta’s twisted identity politics uphold the politically correct illusion that there are more buffalo to kill, and the future doesn’t matter.
And that is an unforgiving road to ruin.
The author drew inspiration for this column from the U.S. bestseller The Coddling of the American Mind, by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.
Jason Kenney meets with oil advocacy groups for advice on ‘war room’ by Lauren Krugel, June 8th 2019, National Observer
Alberta’s premier says staff in the province’s so-called energy “war room” will be able to quickly take on industry foes without government bureaucracy holding them back.
The office — to be based in Calgary with a $30 million budget — is meant to take on critics of Alberta’s oil and gas industry in real time.
Jason Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage were meeting with industry players on Friday to get advice on how the war room should work.
“The energy war room will have a mandate to operate much more nimbly and much more quickly with a higher risk tolerance, quite frankly, than is normally the case for government communications,” said @JKenney
He said he hopes to have it up and running by the end of the summer and that it will be staffed by government employees and potentially contractors.
Kenney shrugged off the notion that the operation will only serve to galvanize the environmental groups it’s meant to target, saying a defensive posture in the past hasn’t worked.
He said it will be tough to gauge the war room’s success, but one measure will be whether there is a shift in public opinion about Alberta’s energy industry.
Kenney said with the 24-hour news cycle being a thing of the past, the war room will have to shed some of the usual shackles of government communications.
Taking hours or even days to approve a message won’t cut it, he said.
“Government communications are by nature a little bureaucratic and tend to be a bit slow moving and risk averse,” he said.
“The energy war room will have a mandate to operate much more nimbly and much more quickly with a higher risk tolerance, quite frankly, than is normally the case for government communications.”
A war room leader has not been named yet.
NDP energy critic Irfan Sabir said Kenney’s war room will pit the economy against the environment.
“This is a recipe for disaster,” he said.
Greenpeace Canada responded to Kenney’s remarks by noting that attacking environmental organizations that raise concerns about the oil industry ignores the reality of climate change.
“Jason Kenney can spend $30 million on political theatre to try to distract us from the deadly seriousness of climate scientists’ warnings, but that won’t keep wildfires, heat waves or floods from getting worse or stop the seas from rising,” Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada, said in a release.
“Shooting the messenger might make for great election campaign rhetoric, but ignoring inconvenient truths does nothing to prepare Alberta for the coming transition off of fossil fuels.”
Kenney and Savage met with representatives of several industry and advocacy groups, including the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Canada Action, The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Energy Citizens.
a few of the comments:
$30m tax dollars to issue government sponsored propaganda.
Actually, the head honcho has been named but the government is slow to release it; a Mr J. Goebbals.
Jason Kenney: enemy of children.
‘Complacent approach doesn’t work’: UCP energy war room set for Calgary by Emma Graney, June 4, 2019, Calgary Herald
Calgary will play home to the government’s planned oil industry war room, and Energy Minister Sonya Savage promises it’s going to start its work “very soon.”
Establishing a $30-million energy war room to “counter the lies” about the industry was a key plank in the UCP election platform.
Savage said Tuesday morning on her way into cabinet the group will be small, tight and compact, in keeping with her government’s “measured restraint” on spending.
“It’s got to be integrated in with the larger fight-back strategy. That includes things like the litigation fund, the public inquiry,” she said.
“We’re trying to knit all those pieces together to make sure we get it right.”
As for why it will be in Calgary, Savage said, “that’s where the industry is and that’s where the [industry’s?] punchy communication experts are.”
Part of a larger strategy
Savage said the war room was the policy that most resonated with her constituents when she knocked on doors during the campaign.
“I think that’s because they saw an approach before that was way too complacent, and that approach had been going on for 10 years,” she said.
“We knew about the tar sands campaign starting back in 2008, and the complacent approach doesn’t work.”
Premier Jason Kenney said during the election the $30-million price tag was a fair one.
“I think it’s the best investment we could possibly make in defending an industry that is the source of about one-third of the jobs in this province, directly and indirectly,” Kenney said at the time.
Kenney’s planned oil strategy includes boycotting banks that won’t co-operate with oilsands financing, demanding the energy industry increase its own advocacy and education efforts, and establishing a $10-million litigation fund “to support pro-development First Nations in defending their right to be consulted on major energy projects.” …
Postmedia lobbies to get involved in Jason Kenney’s oilpatch ‘war room’ by Brenna Owen, May 17th 2019, National Observer
Postmedia has hired a lobbying firm with close ties to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in order to participate in the United Conservative Party government’s new $30 million public relations “war room” in support of oil and gas companies.
Nick Koolsbergen, previously Kenney’s chief of staff and campaign director in the UCP’s winning 2019 campaign, founded the new lobbying firm, Wellington Advocacy in early May, a few weeks after the Alberta election. Not long after, he filed a report with the Alberta Lobbyists Registry, indicating his firm was hired “to discuss ways Postmedia could be involved in the government’s energy war room.”
A spokeswoman for Postmedia, which operates Canada’s largest chain of newspapers, said on Friday that the lobbying was related to a commercial division of the media company, separate from its editorial staff. This commercial division produces advertising content that appears in its publications in what is known as advertorials — ads that resemble news articles and other editorial content.
“Postmedia has engaged Wellington Advocacy with respect to the commercial content area of the business and the previously announced Alberta government’s energy war room,” said the Postmedia spokeswoman, Phyllise Gelfand.
Nick Koolsbergen @nkoolsbergen
Excited to announce the launch of Wellington Advocacy with @reicurran
Kenney promised during the campaign to spend $30 million in taxpayer money to build what he described as a “fully staffed rapid response war room.” The proposed war room would help Alberta’s oil and gas industry counter what Kenney called lies from the “green left.”
The oilsands industry has long been the source of controversy due to evidence of its environmental impacts, growing financial liabilities, and inadequate regulatory oversight. For example, recent reporting published in National Observer and the Toronto Star has found that the industry is struggling to determine how to clean up toxic tailings ponds that are large enough to be seen from space.
The federal government also says that the oilsands are Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, making the industry a key obstacle that may prevent the country from meeting its international climate change commitments.
The industry has said that new technologies are emerging, which can help it address some of its environmental challenges, but it also argues that it needs more access to markets, through an expansion of pipelines, to become more profitable.
Koolsbergen, who also served as a senior aide to former prime minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa and to former B.C. premier Christy Clark, said in the filing on the lobbying registry that his firm would use communications techniques including arranging meetings, informal communication, presentations, phone calls, social media and written communication.
“It’s not unusual for there to be movement between the political space and the corporate [and] civil society space,” said David Moscrop, a political theorist and postdoctoral fellow in the department of communication at the University of Ottawa, in an interview with National Observer.
“The question is … will people be able to tell the difference between what’s news coverage and what’s marketing, advertising, or an influence campaign?” asked Moscrop.
Moscrop, who recently authored a book, Too Dumb for Democracy? Why We Make Bad Political Decisions and How We Can Make Better Ones, said he believes it’s the newspaper’s responsibility to ensure advertorial content is clearly marked.
Postmedia ran CAPP advertorials
Previously, Postmedia has run paid advertisements for oil and gas industry actors, including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. In 2014, the Vancouver Observer reported on a Postmedia presentation that was leaked on Twitter, which outlined a strategy to Postmedia’s sponsored oil and gas industry content with CAPP’s “thought leadership.”
“What really drives Canada’s economic engine? Energy, of course,” reads the presentation. “While Albertans may be acutely aware of this fact, the rest of the country often fails to grasp the fundamental role the energy sector plays in building and sustaining economic prosperity. Postmedia and CAPP will bring energy to the forefront of our national conversation.”
Online news outlet The Narwhal later uncovered at least two pieces of paid oil and gas industry content in Postmedia publications that did not include disclaimers signaling the content was advertorial.
Advertorials and infomercials are a common source of revenue for media companies, particularly as they struggle to compensate for declining advertising revenues due to competition with large online companies such as Google and Facebook.
“If you look at newspaper revenues in the country … they’re just trying to get through the day against unfair competition in a declining media space,” said Moscrop.
But, Moscrop added, the influence of Postmedia’s potential involvement in the Alberta government’s oil and gas war room is amplified by the concentration of Postmedia papers in the province. It publishes the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald, Sun tabloids, and more than 30 community papers.
“The concentration of media makes it hard for people to have alternatives. It makes it difficult for the average consumer to have a chance to be exposed to news media that either doesn’t participate in this sort of thing or does but from a different perspective,” said Moscrop.
Looking for best use of resources
Premier Kenney’s press secretary Christine Myatt told National Observer in an email that the government is “talking to a number of stakeholders with respect to the energy war room, and will look for the best use of resources in terms of how advertising dollars are spent.”
The Alberta NDP critic for democracy and ethics, Heather Sweet, called Postmedia’s hiring of a partisan lobbyist “deeply troubling.” But Sweet, who represents an Edmonton-area riding in the provincial legislature, said her party remains “confident in the unbiased impartiality of the journalists in (Postmedia’s) Edmonton and Calgary newsrooms.” [Pfffft! Alberta NDP are as untrustworthy and propagandizing as Kenney govt]
Koolsbergen’s lobbyist registration also indicates that Postmedia received more than $1.5 million under the Canadian Periodical Fund, a federal program designed to help Canadian publishers “overcome market disadvantages.” Last year, Ottawa announced $595 million over five years to support struggling media providers in Canada. This means Postmedia’s Content Works division could run advertorials on behalf of Kenney’s war room against environmentalists, while its news division is supported by funding distributed by the Trudeau government.
A few of the comments:
You mean, Postmedia isn’t already involved in Alberta’s ‘energy war room’?
What a joke. Every last one of Postmedia’s pundits is already an oil industry cheerleader. Postmedia doesn’t have one pro-environment, anti-fossil fuel, climate activist writer on staff.
Day after day, Postmedia’s scribblers regurgitate the same talking points from CAPP, Vivian Krause, and Ethical Oil. Banging the drum for new pipelines. Attacking environmentalists and ENGOs. Trumpeting First Nation support for “development” while sidelining indigenous opposition. Ignoring climate change. Flouting IPCC warnings.
The onslaught is non-stop.
What more could Postmedia possibly do?
Make more money doing more of the same. It’s a crude tool, but it’s well used in this province, as you mention…..and if nothing else, it may make opposition to Kenny’s vision of tomorrow feel hopeless, out numbed, and with no place to go.
Bullying works in Alberta. We have to remember that.
Good Grief! One set of losers now trying to parasitize another set of losers who are playing wily beguiled with the Alberta taxpayers’ money.
A few additional reading refs for Industry and Oily Kenney’s War Room:
2019 03 04: 4.6M earthquake, 1 km in depth, most powerful yet in central Alberta, hits SW of Red Deer, cracks walls in homes, knocks power out to thousands. Vesta Energy reports quake to AER, shuts down frac’ing
2017 08 08: Alberta issues 40 water shortage advisories while continuing to let frackers inject hundreds of millions of gallons fresh water losing much of it from hydrogeological cycle forever. Worse, Notley Govt is subsidizing frac industry’s water abuses while making frac contaminated families live without safe water
2017 08 04: Fracking by Karve Energy Inc. at Consort Alberta killed Charles Oba, Calgary father of two; Family demands answers. Police not releasing name of the victim. Will Karve Energy blame Charles?
2017 04 25: Fox Creek’s Barb Ryan provides excellent summary of Canada’s new tarsands study insanity! Industry under-reporting VOC pollution by factor of 2 to 4.5. Is industry also under-reporting toxic frac pollution & drinking water contamination?
2017 01 04: Happy Alberta-Oil-Patch-Get-Away-with-Murder New Year? After 10 years to investigate and release report, CNRL fined $10,000 – maximum allowed – following regulation violations that killed 2 workers, injured 5 others, 13 in total trapped by devastating tank collapse. All 29 charges against CNRL dropped. Alberta’s “No Duty of Care” energy “regulation” wins & kills, again.
2016 10 25: Shell Canada, Fox Creek Alberta: 47 year old worker killed by water hose in AER’s Blanket Approval, “Brute Force & Ignorant” Frac Frenzy Pilot Project
2016 04 07: AER allows Repsol to resume fracking after causing world record 4.8M frac quake (felt 280 km away near Edmonton) in AER’s Fox Creek Blanket Approval Frac Frenzy Free-for-All Experiment. But, Repsol appears too shaken to resume
2016 03 03: Alberta Venture Special Report: Towns in Alberta’s industrial heartland ran out of water last summer. Is fracking to blame? Is “No Duty of Care” legally immune AER’s one-size-fits-all, world-record quaking frac frenzy drying up Fox Creek’s drinking water supply?
2016 01 15: Edmonton’s 630CHED Jespersen Show Interviews Jessica Ernst on her Supreme Court of Canada Hearing vs AER & Dr. Jeffrey Gu on the 4.8M Earthquake at Fox Creek, Alberta (day of Ernst’s Supreme Court Hearing)
2015 09 23: Encana’s Fox Creek blow out spewing 20,000,000,000 litres/day sour gas & condensate: Where’s the regulator? Ex-Encana VP Gerard Protti = AER Chair; Ex-Encana Manager Mark Taylor = AER VP Industry Operations
2014 08 17: Astounding! Another 2,070 anti-drilling Lethbridge signatures sent to Alberta MLA Greg Weadick, on top of the more than 11,000 signatures already submitted
Ernst vs Encana (Stelmach/Redford/Hancock/Prentice/Notley/Kenney/…)
2014 07 14: There are proven cases of fracking contamination by Jessica Ernst, Published in Rocky View Weekly
There are proven cases documented and industry admits they don’t know what their frac’s do.
1987 Report to Congress: Kaiser frac’d about 4,000 feet deep “allowing migration of fracture fluid from the gas well to Mr. Parson’s water well. This fracture fluid, along with natural gas was present in Mr. Parson’s water rendering it unusable.”
1989 Industry: “hydraulic fracturing stimulation” for light oil, in several wells in Manitoba propagated into a water zone.
2001, 2004 Groundwater Database entries: Gas wells 02-06-04 perforations at 100.5 metres, 05-14-27-22-W4M intentionally fractured Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers.
2005 – Current: “Oil wells on the Campbell property have caused gas from 1,757 metres to enter their aquifer,” said Muehlenbachs
2005/06 Industry: “….industry still has much to learn about hydraulic fractures. Fractures from both horizontal and vertical wells can propagate vertically out of the intended zone, … potentially connecting up with other hydraulic fracturing stages or unwanted water or gas intervals.”
2006 Regulator: “Information provided by industry to date shows that there may not always be a complete understanding of fracture propagation at shallow depths and that programs are not always subject to rigorous engineering design.”
2008 Industry: “We Can Safely Say That We Know Everything There Is To Know About Hydraulically Created Fractures EXCEPT How Deeply They Penetrate; Their Vertical Extents; Their Symmetries About the Wellbore; Whether They Are Planar or Multi-stranded; Their Geometries At The Perimeter; Which Directions They Go; What Their Conductivities Are”
2010 Regulator: “Fracture propagation via large scale hydraulic fracturing operations has proven difficult to predict. Existing planes of weakness in target formations may result in fracture lengths that exceed initial design expectations.”
2012 Regulator: “High-Risk Enforcement Action against Crew Energy Ltd.” for a frac incident that contaminated groundwater. “The concentrations of chloride…remains elevated. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) concentrations remained unchanged….”
Mr. Meikle’s letter: “Again when oil companies are going to hydraulically stimulate wells, they test all surrounding water wells for water quality and production rate.”
In my experience, companies refuse to do this, don’t test for all chemicals used on the few wells they do test and refuse complete chemical disclosure before drilling, preventing appropriate testing. And after a community’s water is contaminated and water tower explodes, Alberta regulators argue in court they owe ‘no duty of care’ to anyone harmed by industry’s contamination.
Mr. Meikle’s letter: “All chemicals used in fracking have to be reported to the AER.”
Not according to the regulator’s General Counsel: “the ERCB does not currently require licensees to provide detailed disclosure of the chemical composition of fracturing fluids.”
I asked what chemicals were injected in my community’s aquifers. Encana and the regulators refuse to cooperate.
Let’s hope more proof doesn’t involve Mr. Meikle’s water or loved ones. Fighting for accountability, justice and safe water, is an expensive, full-time job.
2013 09 02: Kaiser kills Calgary Royal Oak drill and frac for oil 400 metres from homes, Residents in Calgary community celebrate after Kaiser Energy scrapped urban frac plans but worry 2,300 metres is not far enough
As of spring 2019, it’s 15 years that Ernst suffers with dangerously contaminated well water – too dangerous to even use to flush toilets – thanks to Encana illegally fracturing the aquifers that supply her community with drinking water while further suffering “regulators” protecting the polluter
and abusing harmed citizens courageous enough to speak out
2002 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment: Groundwater Quality The report concluded that unconventional natural gas drilling such as coalbed methane (CBM) poses a real threat to groundwater quality and quantity….
2005 01 27: Investigators say an accumulation of gases appears to have caused the explosion that destroyed the Rosebud water tower and sent a Wheatland County employee to hospital
“The density of wells will still be extreme (even when using multi-well pads),” he said. “This is a very tight gas field. That has a tremendous impact on the landscape.” … “The industry calls it ‘carpet bombing’ or statistical drilling,”…. “You drill as many friggin’ wells as you can in the hopes that 60 per cent of them will produce a small amount of gas.” “We’re talking about drilling it to death,”
2006 The Groundwater Debate Jessica Ernst, a well respected oil patch consultant who lost her water supply after CBM activity in her neighborhood, poses four good questions:
• Why has the regulator allowed companies to risk Alberta’s groundwater without proper safeguards as recommended by the Canadian Council of Environmental Ministers in 2002?
• Why has CBM activity been allowed to escalate at the expense of public health and safety?
• What are the fracing chemicals?
• And how do we bring the mandate of the regulator back into balance for all of Albertans?
The government still hasn’t come up with answers yet.
Given their one-sidedness, oil regimes fear transparency. This explains why Alberta operates one of the most secretive governments in Canada. Just last year Alberta’s Conservative government made it legal for its petro-tyrants to lock away internal audits for 15 years and for government ministers to keep their briefing binders out of public view for five years. Making propaganda is also one of oil’s many antidemocratic characteristics. The Alberta government currently spends $14-million a year and employs 117 full-time staff in its Public Affairs Bureau to tell Albertans what to think. Not even President George W. Bush employs a propaganda arm this large in the White House. The tone of government has also become increasingly authoritarian. …
Alberta has also sacrificed the rule of law.
It seems whenever open public debate threatens to challenge another government-sanctioned energy project, the Energy and Utilities Board (EUB), a de facto rubber stamp for disorderly development, shuts down public participation citing “security” reasons.
“I don’t know what to do,” Ernst added.
“How do you fight the entire Alberta government and EnCana?”
“People have been saying for years that the ERCB and the industry are in bed together,”
… “Now we have hard evidence to prove it.”
2009 02 12: The Intimidation of Ernst: Members of Harper Government’s Anti-terrorist Squad Intimidate and Harass Ernst after her Legal Papers were Served on Encana, the EUB (then ERCB, now AER) and Alberta Environment
“You phone the ERCB and they say, ‘that’s not our jurisdiction, phone the SRB,’” says Bruder.
“And you phone the SRB and they say, ‘that’s not our jurisdiction, phone Alberta Environment,’ and Alberta Environment says, ‘that’s not our jurisdiction, phone the ERCB’.”
Bruder’s handlebar moustache bristles along with his contempt.
“And you just keep going around in a circle.”
“I’m not the only one. There are many others that this has happened to, and my story is not unique,” Ms. Ernst said in an interview from New York, where she is taking part in a panel discussion on fracking being held at the United Nations.
2011 Fingerprinting of gas contaminating groundwater and soil in a petroliferous region, Alberta, Canada by Barb Tilley and Karlis Muehlenbachs, Proceedings from International Network of Environmental Forensics conference, Cambridge, UK, July 25-27, 2011
2011 What Fresh Hell is this? Alberta citizens demand Frack Moratorium. “It is for this cloak of secrecy, the unstudied impacts and cumulative effects, the decimated communities and a captured regulator and government, that we demand a moratorium until independent scientists prove hydraulic fracturing is safe.”
The basic story was one of betrayal, of deception by the very people whose job it was to protect her, of lying, intimidation, smearing her reputation……after she objected to Encana destroying her water well through hydro fracking! She talked of her fear and terror. …
During a press briefing meant to minimize growing public concerns about the fracking of oil and gas, Cal Hill of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) said Alberta will likely demand producers notify the public about fracking activities….
“We trusted when we never should have trusted.”
…the technique alarms rancher Nielle Hawkwood, who lives in the district.
“Not many of these stories get made public because the oil and gas companies usually force farmers to sign confidentiality agreements in return for replacement of their water wells” said Slomp.
“The government is telling Albertans the cupboard is bare for public services, but it’s bare in large measure because of this irresponsible and out-of-control corporate giveaway.”
Ernst argues that Ireland should “do a conservative socio-economic assessment of what Ireland stands to lose — in current jobs, industry, your infrastructure, your health. And even the water itself. What is the value of Ireland’s rivers and loughs? Often in these things, we look at the supposed short-term gains, but we don’t look at what we put at risk.”
When asked what she would suggest as a course of action for Ireland on fracking, her message is simple: wait.
“The best advice I can give to people in Ireland is that the wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Watch the mistakes happen everywhere else,”
Significant levels of methane, the main component of natural gas, have been found in drinking-water supplies near some fracking sites. ….some fracking sites are relatively near to the level of drinking water, and the IEA suggests it might make sense to ban the procedure at such locations. …
“It can’t just be counting on companies to adopt best practices, because you’ll only have a certain percentage of the well operators doing it,”
‘I have given up the rest of my life for this’, Jessica Ernst is convinced there’s nothing good about hydraulic fracturing Gaz de schiste – la mission de Jessica, “J’ai laissé tombé tout le reste de ma vie pour ceci.”
2012 Hydraulic fracturing with gelled propane by Gasfrac/Crew Energy Inc./Caltex Energy Inc. contaminated groundwater near Grande Prairie: ERCB Investigative Report and groundwater monitoring by Alberta Environment
FrackingCanada: Community Voice The Campbells Suffer Test after Test Confirming Sour Thermogenic Industry Gas in their Drinking Water; No Water Repair or Alternate Safe Water Provided
2019 06 27: Nearly five years Ernst has waited for Encana to heed Justice Wittmann’s July 2014 Order to file all important and relevant documents with her:
Chemicals illegally injected repeatedly by Encana directly into Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers (on the company’s two most shallow frac’d gas wells in the community) remain secret, contrary to Alberta’s Rules of Court;
Encana has not filed with Ernst appropriately and completely cleaned up records for document exchange (the company’s “cleaned up” records are a worse and more disrespectful mess than the company’s first filing). Chemicals injected into Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers are required to be disclosed to Ernst under Alberta’s Rules of Court, including all trade secrets;
Encana has still not disclosed all chemicals the company secretly injected into hundreds of other gas wells in various formations in fresh water zones around Rosebud and all drilling, cementing, perforating and frac’ing details on these extremely shallow gas wells remain completely withheld;
Numerous other important and relevant documents remain withheld.
This post is dedicated to Gemilicious
Thank you Gem for guarding and protecting me, for your kind loving patience tolerating my 18 hour days working on the lawsuit and helping other frac harmed landowners, and suffering Canada’s vile demented greedy racist misogynistic old-white-man legal system.