Ithaca — Jessica Ernst, an Alberta, Canada scientist who claims the EnCana gas company contaminated her well with methane and toxic chemicals, presents “The Truth and Consequences of Fracking” Wednesday, May 23 in Ithaca. Her visit is part of a four-night tour also including Elmira, Owego and Lafayette.
Along with suing the Canadian gas company, Ernst claims Alberta regulators were negligent. In 2011, Ernst submitted comments to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the state agency tasked with determining whether hydrofracturing is environmentally safe. Some 60,000 public comments resulted from the release of a draft report. New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo now finds himself at the center of a bitter tug-of-war between environmentalists who see the gas extraction technique as a threat to water and land and others that view gas drilling as creating local employment.
“We are fortunate that Jessica Ernst is taking the time from her difficult and painful situation to share her cautionary story with us,” said Maura Stephens, a member of one of the two grassroots groups sponsoring the talks. “Even as a person who works in the industry, she has had her water poisoned.”