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Frack Me if I'm Wrong: Canadian Town Wins Battle for Water Against Oil Company

CC0 / / Water tap
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Canadian oil firm Gastem ended up losing a lawsuit against a township that sought to prevent it from drilling for hydrocarbons in the vicinity of the town’s water supply.

Ristigouche-Partie-Sud-Est, a municipality in Quebec with a population of only 157, managed to win a court battle against oil and gas exploration company Gastem, successfully preventing the latter from drilling in the vicinity of the town’s drinking water supply, according to the Guardian.

The four-years of litigation started back in 2013 when the town authorities passed a bylaw that set out a 2km (1.2-mile) no-drill zone around the local water supply, wary of the ongoing exploration by Gastem which started constructing a drilling platform within the township.

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Gastem declared the bylaw illegal and filed a 1.5 million CAD lawsuit which eventually got scaled down to 984,676 CAD. However, this week the Superior Court of Quebec ruled that the town authorities did not overstep their bounds and that “the bylaw was the result of a serious effort to address the concerns and demands of Ristigouche’s citizens,” as Judge Nicole Tremblay put it.

"Public interest, the collective well-being of the community and the safety of residents must be weighed for all projects introduced into a municipality," the judge wrote in her decision, ordering the company to cover half of the municipality’s legal fees.

Ristigouche-Partie-Sud-Est, however, did not fight its legal battle alone as a crowdfunding campaign launched back in 2014 helped raise some C$342,000 to help cover the litigation costs.

READ MORE: Watchdog Slams Court Ruling on Royal Dutch Shell as Blow to Oil Spill Victims

Also, the town banded together with scores of other Canadian municipalities in a bid to amend the law that set out a protected perimeter of 500 meters around potable water sources, seeking to increase that limit to two kilometers.

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