EnCana Corporation

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Encana is a major North American energy company, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and second in size in North America only to Exxon Mobil. Their corporate website states, "We produce approximately 4.4 billion cubic feet of gas equivalent per day. More than 80 percent is natural gas —- the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels. We are also a technical and cost leader in the in-situ recovery of bitumen through steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) –- production that is integrated with our two refineries in the United States." [1]

Fines

Encana incurred the largest fine ever issued by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission for allowing gas to migrate into a creek on Colorado's western slope. The commission fined EnCana a record $371,000 after one of the company’s wells leaked into West Divide Creek in Western Colorado in 2004. The seep was found to contain the carcinogenic chemical benzene.

Various operational failures led EnCana to be assessed $542,000 for nine different fines in 2006; $663,000 for 19 fines in 2007; $306,000 for 19 fines in 2008 and $3,000 on 10 fines in 2009.[2]

Criticism

In northern British Columbia where Encana pipelines have experienced six explosions, media reports indicate the pipeline may have been bombed by disgruntled community members.[3][4] Encana's hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States are visible in the 2010 documentary, Gasland, which alleges that hydraulic fracturing causes pollution of ground and surface water, as well as air and soil pollution.

Issues have also been raised for a proposed project offshore of Nova Scotia, for which Encana has proposed a streamlined regulatory process.[5]

Refuting EPA's finding that fracking pollutes groundwater

In December, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency definitively linked groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming, to hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") activity taking place in the area of the aquifer.[6] Encana refuted the study's conclusions, saying the EPA itself may have contaminated the water with its test wells.[7]

Price fixing allegations

In June 2012 Reuters reported that, under the direction of CEO Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake Energy plotted with top executives of competitor EnCana to suppress land prices in the Collingwood Shale formation in Northern Michigan. In emails between Chesapeake and Encana Corp, the rivals discussed dividing up Michigan counties and private landowners to avoid bidding against each other in a 2010 public land auction and in at least nine prospective private deals. Price-fixing between competitors is illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act. In Michigan alone, the two companies combined now hold more than 975,000 acres of land - an area about the size of Rhode Island.[8]

Community opposition

Residents near EnCana's hydrauling fracuring sites near Erie, Colorado, reported negative health effects from the wells' fumes. Encana was later permitted to drill eight new wells next to the town's two elementary schools. In response, residents did their own investigations under the group Erie Rising, and presented their findings to the community. Their presentation said that Erie's air contained ozone-producing gases (propane and butane) that were 10 times higher than those in Los Angeles, and benzene at excessive levels. A follow-up study by the Colorado School of Public Health found that residents living within a half-mile of a fracking well had a 66 percent greater risk of cancer than those living a mile away. The town board passed a moratorium on new drilling permits, although vast tracts of land in Erie have already been permitted for fracking operations, and permits are not required by the state to re-enter old wells.[9]

Allegedly illegal pipeline installation

In 2008, hearings were held after Encana allegedly installed a pipeline across a Canadian ecological reserve without a permit.[10]

Citizen action

Citizens march to deliver signatures opposing fracking operation

In June 2012 a group of mothers and children living in Colorado marched into EnCana Corporation headquarters in Denver to deliver a petition signed by 21,000 people demanding the company pull the plug on its project near the town of Erie, Colorado. Encana is preparing to drill a well in Canyon Creek, where a prairie rife with birds and a wetland alive with waterfowl separate it from hundreds of houses in the nearby Creekside neighborhood. An elementary school is located a few hundreds yards south of the drilling site, which is at a legal distance.

Industry representatives dismissed the petition. A large rally was planned for June 9, 2012 to try to draw more attention to the drilling noise and pollution that burden affected citizens.[11]

Public relations efforts

In May, 2010 Encana Oil and Gas (USA), Inc., gave National Jewish Health in Denver a $25,000 gift to support research at its Environmental Lung Center. National Jewish is known for treating patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. [12]

Support for the American Legislative Exchange Council

EnCana was a "Director" level sponsor of 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Conference, which in 2010, equated to $10,000.[13]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


Directors

Accessed November 2008: [14]

Contact

Web: www.encana.com

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles

References

  1. About, EnCana Corporation, accessed November 2, 2008
  2. Steve Mocarsky Company defends its environmental record, published article, the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Times Leader, May 9, 2010
  3. CBC, Aug 29. 2006, EnCana unveils smaller Deep Panuke project
  4. CBC, July 2, 2009, Latest EnCana pipeline explosion was deliberate: RCMP
  5. CBC, Aug 29. 2006, EnCana unveils smaller Deep Panuke project
  6. Dominic C. DiGiulio, Richard T. Wilkin and Carlyle Miller, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Investigation of Ground Water Contamination near Pavillion, Wyoming Draft report, December, 2011
  7. Susan Phillips, State Impact/EPA Blames Fracking for Wyoming Groundwater Contamination, National Public Radio, December 8, 2011
  8. Brian Grow, Joshua Schneyer, and Janet Roberts, "Special Report: Chesapeake and rival EnCana plotted to suppress land prices," Reuters, June 25, 2012.
  9. Mark Ruffalo, "Erie mothers battle to stop drilling," The Denver Post, May 19, 2012.
  10. TMCnet.com Preliminary hearing for oil giant EnCana on environmental charge set for April, published article, September 19, 2009
  11. "Fracking under way near Colorado schools" Troy Hooper, The Colorado Independent, June 5, 2012.
  12. National Jewish Health Encana Oil and Gas (USA) Inc. gives $25,000 to Environmental Lung Center at National Jewish Health to improve lung health, Press release, May 25, 2010
  13. [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Sponsors, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]
  14. Directors, EnCana Corporation, accessed November 2, 2008.