Water Contamination from Fracking- Jessica Ernst Releases Groundbreaking Report

Water Contamination from Fracking: Jessica Ernst Releases Groundbreaking Report

Water Contamination from Fracking- Jessica Ernst Releases Groundbreaking Report
Environmental consultant Jessica Ernst on her land in Alberta (Colin Smith photo)

Jessica Ernst, a high-profile, Alberta-based environmental consultant, has released a comprehensive summary of science, facts and documents relating to groundwater contamination from the controversial practice of natural gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

The culmination of ten years of research, the 93-page report is sure to cause a stir with the energy sector and its critics. Groundwater contamination has been a key concern surrounding the booming fracking industry.

“Jessica Ernst has made a strong case,” says Will Koop, BC Tapwater Alliance Coordinator. “Her collection provides excellent and technically friendly working tools, enabling the public to draw their own conclusions from the critical information. This is not just an invaluable document for North Americans, but for the world.”

Having consulted for the oil and gas industry for thirty years, Ernst became concerned about its impacts when they began to hit home – “living with dangerous contamination after EnCana hydraulically fractured my community’s drinking water aquifers.”

Ernst’s battle with Encana prompted her to bring a landmark lawsuit against the company in Alberta last year.

Ernst cites the industry’s propensity for secrecy and covering up impacts from its operations as a key motivation for compiling this broad spectrum of evidence. In the preface to her report, she quotes renowned energy journalist Andrew Nikiforuk: “As somebody who has reported for 20 years on this industry in [Alberta], I can tell you I’ve met hundreds of people in this province who have signed confidentiality agreements once their water was blown, once their livestock was killed, once a member of their family were injured, once they lost most of their grass or their trees as a result of fouling events, contamination events, air pollution, you name it.”

With this compendium of scientific data, correspondence with regulators, internal government and industry communications, transcripts from news reports, and links to a wide array of journalistic and academic references on the subject, Ernst aims to bring these issues into the light.

Ernst has gathered – in an unprecedented way – a large body of evidence which should raise serious questions for the public, regulators and policy makers about the environmental and human health impacts of fracking, particularly as we discuss a massive global expansion of the industry.

Download the full report here


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

7 thoughts on “Water Contamination from Fracking: Jessica Ernst Releases Groundbreaking Report

  1. Saturday, 22 June 2013 13:30 posted by Will Koop

    Suzy. You could also go to the http://www.frackingcanada.ca website which has Ernst’s entire document in html format, along with a series of interesting video links, and maybe even some popcorn to munch on.

    Saturday, 22 June 2013 11:41 posted by Damien Gillis

    Just checked the link – works fine from my platform, Suzy. It’s a .pdf so you need a .pdf reader plugin in your browser of a .pdf viewer to see. You can also try downloading from Jessica’s resource page: http://www.ernstversusencana.ca/links-resources

    Saturday, 22 June 2013 04:11 posted by Suzy

    Link to the full report is broken…

    Friday, 21 June 2013 21:48 posted by Julie Ali

    I think Jessica Ernst is a national heroine and all Canadians must support her. The behavior of big oil and the government of Alberta with reference to pollution in Alberta is reprehensible. Citizens like myself who have lived in Alberta since the time of Peter Lougheed are learning only now the real legacy of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta—bullying, lies, intimidation, threats, myth making with reference to the party itself and ongoing use of laws to limit our rights and freedoms with reference to our property rights.
    Because of Jessica Ernst’s courage we now know the real cost of this political party that has obscured the truth, delayed and limited information about pollution; and in general acted as the front party for big oil at the cost of the public interest.
    We need to take back our democracy.
    We do this by speaking out against the erosion and outright collusion of the government at all levels with corporations.
    We are to say the simple words “no” to them.
    And we are to vote them out if they do not obey our will.
    It is this simple.
    Will greed triumph?
    Will we have an inverted totalitarian system in Canada?
    Or will the people take back their country?

    Friday, 21 June 2013 18:57 posted by sharon

    Fed gov’t doesn’t give current nor constant air emission info – on the west coast we are without Fukoshima data.

    AB fracking/air and water quality – no gov’t data there either.

    Cancer figures for ‘hot spots’ and current cases in provinces?

    These are just some of the things people could remember when contemplating deregulation and firing of scientists.

    Friday, 21 June 2013 12:15 posted by Adan K

    Damien, as someone in media, you should know better. You wrote ” google Jessica Ernst”
    Google is a brand name not a verb. There are other and more secure search engines, like Startpage, e.g.

    Friday, 21 June 2013 10:49 posted by Dave

    The Canadian government might want to get serious about this, just like China’s response to polluters:


    Friday, 21 June 2013 09:42 posted by KWD

    Some links that I’ve posted several times but they are worth repeating. If you are interested in getting a bigger picture of fracking take the time to view these:




    Also, google Jessica Ernst; there’s a lot of valuable info on Ernst’s struggles and her speaking tours.

    Thursday, 20 June 2013 20:51 posted by Anne


    They’ve come and gone, apparently they need someone to “train” them. Watch the video clip “The Intimidation of Ernst” – bottom of the page at:


    Thursday, 20 June 2013 20:07 posted by ron wilton

    I hope they don’t go after Jessica the way they hounded Ludwig Wiebo into an early grave.

    Thursday, 20 June 2013 16:21 posted by Kevin Logan

    Ernst = True hero

Comments are closed.