Fracking pilot project plan is off the table: Kent

A pilot hydraulic fracturing project in southeast Yukon is no longer being considered by the Yukon government, Resources Minister Scott Kent confirmed this morning.

A pilot hydraulic fracturing project in southeast Yukon is no longer being considered by the Yukon government, Resources Minister Scott Kent confirmed this morning.

The Yukon NDP brought forward evidence yesterday that it says shows the Yukon government is pushing for a pilot fracking project in the Liard Basin.

“The minister has told us that there aren’t any applications to frack, but why won’t he tell us that he is pushing a fracking pilot project behind the backs of Yukoners?” asked MLA Kate White in the legislature Tuesday.

The NDP’s evidence is a copy of an email that appears to have been sent from George Ross, deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. It is undated.

It appears to be giving feedback on a draft presentation on the subject of the government’s position on fracking in the territory. The government has promised that a response to a select committee report on the issue will be tabled in the next couple of weeks.

“I believe I communicated a couple of specific actions the M was looking for. Namely a ‘pilot fracing/science project’ in the liard basin with Eflow …” the document reads.

“The M” likely refers to the minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, and “Eflow” likely refers to EFLO Energy Inc, the company with ownership stake in the Kotaneelee gas basin in southeast Yukon.

“That is one of the ideas that I put forward,” Kent confirmed. “To me, it made sense from a research standpoint.”

After further evaluation, though, the idea has been removed from consideration, he said.

“So that won’t be part of our final position, that we’ll be putting forward within the next two weeks.”

White said that the email confirms that the government intends to push ahead with fracking in the territory, despite opposition.

“I think the (select committee) report was perfectly clear that First Nation governments, the scientific community and Yukoners don’t believe that fracking belongs in the territory.”

The government has “been broadcasting their intentions throughout. And that email, to me, just solidifies it,” she said.

In the legislature, Kent pointed to nearby jurisdictions that allow industry to use the controversial fracking technique to get at natural gas resources.

“We will not tolerate any misinformation with respect to fracking,” he said. “We’re going to give full and fair consideration to the facts and to the science. We’re going to cut Hollywood out of this picture, whether it’s Gasland or FrackNation, or whatever program you choose to watch with respect to this practice. We’re going to focus on the science, the facts, and how this industry is perceived and regulated in other jurisdictions.

“Most jurisdictions around the Yukon, including Alaska, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Alberta and Saskatchewan, all currently have active hydraulic fracturing projects underway in their jurisdictions. Again, there are none in the Yukon. There are none in the queue to be done here, but the immediate focus will be responding to the committee report, and that’s the work that’s underway right now by the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources – of course, coming forward to my caucus and cabinet colleagues and to this legislature during this spring sitting.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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