The settlement of a contaminated water lawsuit near Edson earlier this month will not have much of an effect on a Rosebud woman suing Encana, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and the Alberta Government over her polluted well.
Bonavista Energy was also ordered by the AER to begin extensive soil and groundwater remediation for the Saken dairy farm.
"If this is in the news, that the AER has ordered a company to deliver water, then the (Supreme Court of Canada) judges might see this news and go 'oh well, things are fine in Alberta; we don't have to worry about the regulator not doing it's job," speculated Jessica Ernst. "Now, suddenly, we hear in the news that the family has gagged and settled."
"The gag orders that I have read include your heirs and their heirs and their heirs and their heirs forever," she continued. "You're basically silencing your children even if they get sick and die of cancer down the road."
Ernst, who launched a lawsuit after natural gas showed up in her water well a decade ago, has vowed never to settle with the plaintiffs, although she admits it's difficult at times.
"My lawyers warned me when we started in 2007 what kills most lawsuits and makes people gag and settle is the waiting," she told 99.5 Drum FM. "There's been almost four years of waiting in my lawsuit, waiting for court rulings, (and) the stress of the waiting is phenomenal."
Ernst's case is currently before the Supreme Court of Canada, where the judges have still not ruled after more than 10 months whether she has the right to sue the Alberta Energy Regulator.