October 11, 2016

The Yukon Party Plans to Promote Fracking

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Letter to the Editor

 
For the past five years, Yukoners Concerned about Oil and Gas have worked hard to provide science based information about the negative impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). We have aimed to educate Yukoners, ourselves, and the politicians.
 
Back in 2012, the Yukon Geological Survey commissioned a report “Scoping study of unconventional oil and gas potential, Yukon.” That report confirmed the Yukon’s major oil and gas potential is located in shale.  The only way to extract this shale oil and gas is by hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
 
This report prompted the public hearings into the risks and benefits of fracking.  Despite the findings of this committee and the overwhelming opposition of Yukoners, the Yukon Party continues to promote fracking. The following Yukon Party actions reveal their commitment to developing fracked oil and gas.
 
 1.    The Yukon Party government, through Yukon Energy, built a $42 million LNG plant to provide immediate back-up power and replace diesel generators. However, Yukon Energy has discovered the old diesel generators must warm up the LNG generators.  The cost of LNG fuel for the past15 months has been over $800 thousand dollars. Yukon Energy burned off nearly a third of that gas to release pressure in the tanks. An absolute waste of money and resources.  The main purpose of the LNG plant was to encourage industry to use LNG and to promote oil and gas drilling of Yukon’s shale.

 2.    The staff in Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources have been told to use the phrase “oil and gas development” and never to mention hydraulic fracturing (fracking), even though that’s the only way to develop shale oil and gas.

 3.    In January 2015, the Yukon Party government promised to implement the recommendations of the Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing.  The Yukon Party Govt. Action Plan for 2016 states they are working on the 21 recommendations, but provides no details or specific plans what they are working on.   The problem is there was no public consultation or agreement as to how the recommendations should be addressed, nor has there been an adequacy review of what they are in the process of doing to satisfy the recommendations.
 
 4.    In 2015, the Yukon Party government invited contractors to submit financial proposals for developing the Kotaneelee basin. Without any public review.

 5.    In January 2016, the Yukon Party government signed an agreement with the Liard First Nation that included a payment of half a million dollars for “community wellness and capacity development.”  The lack of transparency around this money has continued to fuel the divisions within Liard First Nation and add suspicion about the Yukon Party intentions for developing oil and gas in the Kotaneelee.

 6.    On May 17, 2016, Scott Kent, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, stated that the path to economic self-reliance includes “developing our shale and gas resources.”

 7.    On August 30, 2016  EMR Minister Scott Kent extended the oil and gas permits for Northern Cross to drill in Eagle Plains for another five years.  No public notice or debate.
 
 8.    The Yukon Party government has just released its Future Action Plan on Oil and Gas Drilling, in which they propose to allow drilling in Eagle Plains and the Kotaneelee. Drilling means fracking.
 
After five years of Yukoners Concerned sharing scientifically supported information about the dangers of fracking and the permanent damage it causes to fresh water, wildlife, infrastructure and the quality of life, the Yukon Party remains determined to frack!

The Yukon Party’s mania with fracked oil and gas comes at the cost of ignoring the effects of climate change in the North. Our society must leave undeveloped fossil fuels in the ground.  The Yukon party is supporting the oil and gas industry with taxpayer dollars. It is tying us to the fuels of the past, instead of investing in the jobs and economic opportunities of renewable energy. The Yukon needs to move forward and leave behind the fuels and technologies of the past.

Don Roberts,
for Yukoners Concerned