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Canada top court rules Alberta landowner cannot sue energy regulator
Canada top court rules Alberta landowner cannot sue energy regulator

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled [judgment] 5-4 Friday that landowner Jessica Ernst is not able to sue the Alberta Energy Regulator for violating her constitutional right of freedom of expression. Ernst is a landowner in Alberta who has claimed [CBC report] that hydraulic fracking in the area has resulted in contamination of her well and water supply. The Alberta Energy Regulator began to refuse to her complaints, which Ernst claims violates her right of freedom of expression. Alberta Energy Regulator is protected with immunity from any action or proceeding through section 43 of the Energy Resources Conservation Act [text]. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that this immunity extends to claims of constitutional violations. The court stated that Ernst should have filed a judicial review to address her concerns over the Alberta Energy Regulator’s handling of her complaints.

Fracking [JURIST feature] has been the focus of many lawsuits in recent years. In June 2015 the state of New York placed a ban [JURIST report] of fracking in the state. In March of 2015 the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill [JURIST report] to place a 3-year moratorium on fracking in the state. Also that March US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced [JURIST report] the publication of a rule regulating fracking on federal land. In January 2015 Scotland announced [JURIST report] a moratorium on the granting of permits for unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking amid environmental and health concerns.