Lawyers for an Alberta woman, who says hydraulic fracturing has so badly contaminated her well that the water can be set on fire, argued in front of the Supreme Court Tuesday for her right to sue the Alberta Energy Regulator.
Jessica Ernst, a resident of Rosebud, Alta., first began legal action in 2007 against the regulator and Calgary-based energy company Encana.
She then amended her statement of claim in 2011 to include Alberta Environment, as well.
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In an earlier ruling, an Alberta court rejected Ernst's suit, ruling that immunity provisions in Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Act exempt her from protections offered by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"That is a rather shocking and surprising thought," Ernst's lawyer, Murray Kilppenstein, said of the Alberta court's ruling.
"A basic idea of the Charter is that it's controlling governments and limits their power is the ultimate guardian of freedom."
Klippenstein said the case is an important one that could reaffirm the importance of the Charter across Canada.
The court heard the appeal but reserved judgment for a later date. A decision isn't expected for at least a matter of weeks, possibly months.