Canada: Town residents win lawsuit against oil & gas company over drilling permits; protect their water supply
Author: Ashifa Kassam, The Guardian, Published on: 13 March 2018
"Tiny Canada town defeats oil firm in court fight over drinking water", 3 Mar 2018
A small municipality in the Canadian province of Quebec that was facing a million-dollar lawsuit from an oil and gas exploration company has won its court battle...The clash traces its roots to 2011, when the province granted a Montreal-based company, Gastem, drilling permits to search for oil and gas in the eastern part of the province...Amid concerns from Ristigouche Sud-Est residents over how the drilling would affect municipal water sources, the town passed a bylaw in 2013 that set out a 2km (1.2-mile) no-drill zone around its water supply. Gastem shot back with a lawsuit that claimed residents had created an illegal bylaw to prevent the project from moving forward. The company’s initial C$1.5m ($1.2m) claim for damages was later reduced to C$984,676...[A] judge at the superior court of Quebec ruled...that Ristigouche Sud-Est was within its rights to protect its water supply...In the absence of any existing provincial laws to protect water sources, the municipality had the right to create its own, the judge added...She ordered the company to cover half of the municipality’s legal fees...Gastem...did not respond to a request for comment...