CARDSTON: About 20 people braved the rain and the cold to march outside the Cardston courthouse Monday, in support of three Blood tribe women who were arrested just over a week ago during a blockade at a hydro-fracking well site on reserve. The rally group, which included people from Lethbridge and the reserve, said the women have a right to protest the new hydro-fracking wells on their land.
"I really feel that the wrong people are being charged," said Tom Cain, the co-chair of Lethbridge-based environmental group Greensence. "To charge anybody, it should be the polluters. We strongly support the women who asked for consultation, but they didn't get consultation from their chief and council."
Sheila Rogers, the chair of the Council of Canadians' Lethbridge chapter, agreed with Cain. She said the Alberta government needs to pay more attention to the controversial drilling process of hydro-fracking, which was temporarily banned in three U.S. states, Quebec and some European countries after scientists found links between fracking and water contamination.
"We're very concerned that this is going on at a large scale in southern Alberta without proper research into whether or not it's safe," said Rogers. "Currently it's on the people who are opposing it are being required to prove that it's unsafe. And we feel that it should be proven safe before they go ahead."
Elle-MaijaTailfeathers, Jill Crop Eared Wolf and Lois Frank are charged with "intimidation" for their part in the hydro-fracking blockade. Their case was put over until next month. Meantime their lawyer, Ingrid Hess, plans to gather more information and support her clients through the process. She said it's been a tough experience for them, since it's the first time they've had to do something like this.
"These are very courageous women who are well-educated and well-versed in the issues," Hess told Country 95 News. "And what is most helpful to them today was the amount of people that came in support of the cause from all different backgrounds and walks of life."
Blood tribe chief and council answered Country 95's request for interviews with a press release. The document says the companies which recently signed a $50 million lease to use hydro-fracking on reserve land "must comply with all laws and regulations when getting approvals to drill." It continues: "Protecting the people and the environment is a top priority for KRI, Chief and Council, Bowood and Murphy. Bowood and Murphy remain committed to complying with all government rules and regulations when drilling, completing and operating oil and gas wells on the reserve."
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2011 at 12/13/2013 6:55:13 PM
Source: Marion Warnica, Country 95 News - photo by Country 95 News: members of the rally in Cardston Monday