For Immediate Release
Calgary (December 5, 2007) – EnCana will make their first court appearance at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 6 in Medicine Hat Provincial Court in response to the charge of violating the Canada Wildlife Act in the Suffield National Wildlife Area (NWA). It is expected that EnCana will request full disclosure of evidence against them and that another court date will be set for their next appearance.
“The results of this case may impact EnCana’s application to drill an additional 1,275 shallow gas wells in this same national protected area,” says Cliff Wallis, vice-president of Alberta Wilderness Association. “We believe that EnCana’s drilling application should not even have been considered, given the environmental significance of the NWA.”
The coalition opposing this application, which may go to a hearing in early 2008 before a federal/provincial Joint Panel, comprises the Federation of Alberta Naturalists, Southern Alberta Group for the Environment, Nature Canada, Alberta Wilderness Association, World Wildlife Fund Canada, and Grasslands Naturalists.
In October 2007, EnCana was charged under the Canada Wildlife Act after installing a section of gas pipeline in the NWA without a permit in March 2005. The NWA is a 458-km2 protected area within CFB Suffield (2,690 km2). It provides secure habitat for more than 1,100 native species,
including 16 federal Species at Risk and 78 provincially listed “at risk” species.
“The NWA contains a unique ecosystem of international importance including a large contiguous block of native prairie, sensitive sand dune habitat, and an unusually high density of species at risk,” says
Sandra Foss, president of the Federation of Alberta Naturalists. “We find it astounding that this project would even be considered, given the ecological diversity and sensitivity of the area.”
“The coalition will be following this trial closely,” says Nature Canada President Julie Gelfand. “We are concerned about the effective protection of the Suffield NWA and its wild species, and we are also very interested in the overall enforcement of the Canada Wildlife Act.”
Manager, Conservation Programs and Legal Issues
Federation of Alberta Naturalists
Nature Canada is a member-based non-profit nature conservation organization dedicated to protecting nature, its diversity, and the processes that sustain it. With strategies based on sound science and passion for nature, Nature Canada effects change on issues of national significance, including bird conservation, wilderness protection, species at risk and national parks.