The fossil fuel industry and many environmental groups tout hydraulic fracturing ? ?fracking” ? as a panacea, with slick promises of energy independence, greenhouse gas reductions, and benefits to local economies. Yet the controversial technology, which blasts massive volumes of fluids, sand, and chemicals into rock and coal formations, has sparked huge public protests. Slick Water tells the shocking, inspiring story of one woman’s stand to hold government and industry accountable for the damage fracking leaves in its wake.
After energy giant Encana secretly fracked hundreds of gas wells around her home and her well water turned to a flammable broth, Jessica Ernst started asking questions. When she put forward evidence that Encana had violated laws by fracturing the community's drinking water aquifer, Ernst was falsely tagged as a bomb-making terrorist and visited by the government’s anti-terrorism squad. Frightened but undaunted, she uncovered a startling history of liability, fraud, and intimidation, along with a willful denial of widespread groundwater contamination. Jessica Ernst’s remarkable story raises dramatic questions about the role of Big Oil in government, society’s obsession with rapidly depleting supplies of unconventional oil and gas, and the future of civil society.
Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute
Andrew Nikiforuk is a leading investigative journalist who has been writing about the oil and gas industry for more than two decades. He was one of the first journalists in North America to document the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on rural communities. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Empire of the Beetle, The Energy of Slaves, and the bestseller Tar Sands, which won the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award. His book Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig's War Against Oil was the winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction.
"meticulously researched....a deft history of fracking from the 1850s (when torpedoes and nitroglycerin were used) through the 1960s (nuclear explosions) to modern hydraulic fracturing."?Nature Magazine
"Slick Water is a true-life noir filled with corruption, incompetence, and, ultimately, courage. It is a deeply informative, disturbing, and important book. ?Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction
"Andrew Nikiforuk crafts a stunning picture of fossil fuel industry and government abuse"? Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
"In this balanced and meticulously researched page-turner, Andrew Nikiforuk follows Alberta whistleblower Jessica Ernst’s quest for justice with a passion, verve, and level of damning detail reminiscent of A Civil Action. ...Jessica Ernst is Canada’s Erin Brockovich, and this is an heroic book?Nikiforuk’s best one yet."? John Vaillant
Praise for The Energy of Slaves:
"...shocking and deeply enlightening. ...required reading for everyone who uses oil" ?Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute, and author of The End of Growth and The Party’s Over
"A startling critique that should rouse us from our pipe dream of endless plenty." ?Ronald Wright
Praise for Tar Sands:
"Andrew Nikiforuk reveals the true costs of America's oil addiction. Tar Sands tells an important story with passion and wit." ?Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
"a slashing indictment of politicians in the back pockets of energy megacorporations, of regulators cowed into acquiescence, and of all of us who look the other way as we fill our gas tanks." ?Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of The Upside of Down