Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 20, 2011

Blood Reserve: Fracking protesters to go to court

Fracking protesters to go to Court
Posted at Censored News

The three women who were arrested by the Blood Tribe Police for preventing a column of trucks from leaving a Murphy Oil well site on the Blood Reserve on September 9, 2011, will appear at the Provincial Court of Alberta at Cardston on Wednesday, December 21, 2011.

The women, Lois Frank, Elle-Máijá Apiniskim Tailfeathers and Jill Crop Eared Wolf, all members of the Blood Tribe, spent the night of September 9th in a Blood Tribe Police holding cell and were charged with “intimidation” and violation of Section 423 (1) (G) of the criminal code.

One of the women, Lois Frank, feels she has the right, under the constitution, to express concerns about the danger that hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”” poses to Blood lands. She says that the Government of Canada has a responsibility to represent Indians and Indian Lands.

Frank believes that the “Blood Tribe Chief and Council and the Government of Canada have a duty to respect and protect Indians and Indian Lands under the Constitution of Canada.” As such, Frank says she hopes that a representative of the Federal Crown will be in Court to represent Aboriginal rights. She believes that “the Government of Canada must find a way to respect the legal rights of First Nations people and protect them in a Court with appropriate authority”.

On September 9, 2011 the three women staged a peaceful protest against the process of “fracking” for natural gas and oil on the Blood Reserve after repeated efforts to discuss their concerns with the Blood Tribe Chief and Council, Kainai Resources Incorporated, the Energy Resources and Conservation Board (ERCB) and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada had failed. On December 14, 2011 the issue was raised in the House of Commons in Ottawa by Linda Duncan, Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona.

Because of the danger of contaminating water sources with the toxic chemicals commonly used in hydraulic fracturing and the associated health risks, a growing number of jurisdictions in Canada, the United States and Europe have imposed a moratorium on fracking, pending the results of further scientific studies. Last week`s findings by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that samples taken from an aquifer through deep monitoring wells in Wyoming, USA revealed ``compounds likely associated with gas-production practices, including hydraulic fracturing`` is a cause for serious concern . The three-year EPA study was carried out following complaints by the residents of Pavillion, Wyoming about the smell and taste of their water. Another concern in the United States and Europe is the occurrence of small, multiple earthquakes near areas where “fracking” is being carried out.

Last week, residents of the Blood Reserve complained about a strong smell of gas in the air causing headaches. Children at the Kainai Middle School at Cardston were also reportedly affected by the smell of gas on December 8, causing some of them to vomit. Air quality monitoring units were observed east and west of a Murphy Oil well on the reserve. Natural Resources Canada reported that on December 5, two small earthquakes occurred 57 kilometers southwest of Lethbridge.

Media contact: Trevor Page 403 328-2854, 403 330-2545 cell,
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