I have been attentive to this 60-day process since it began and, unknowingly, when it was triggered.
I attended the liquefied natural gas workshop that Yukon Energy hosted on Jan. 18, 2012.
I remember being quite amazed at the time by the big gas players and big corporate mining people who attended that workshop. EnCana, ATCO, gas guys from B.C., Alberta and Houston (there were no name tags).
The Casino project was highlighted as the most urgent project for LNG power. It would need 20 truck loads a day to feed its 100MW load. YEC was touting LNG as a transition fuel and ATCO is talking of starting to adapt its diesels in Watson Lake to run on LNG.
Yukon government official Ron Sumanik did a good job at that meeting, spelling out the regulations that apply to the oil and gas sector in the Yukon. Northern Cross did a presentation on how it is partnering with First Nations to set up a LNG plant on Eagle Plains. It would like to supply the mines, like Casino.
I do not think it was a coincidence that that workshop was held on the very day that the request for postings was issued. I think the big gas interests were in town and recognized an opportunity.
The opportunity that big players, like EnCana, saw is a gold rush that needs to be fuelled and the closest gas to the mines is the Whitehorse Trough.
They knew they had a pro-development Yukon government, an overstressed environmental review process, an untested oil and gas regime and First Nations that could have dollar signs in their eyes. An awesome opportunity for exploitation.
What they underestimated, by a long shot, is the passion, value and commitment that Yukoners have for their beautiful and clean environment.
The gas companies cast their gaze wide and were greedy, and applied throughout the Whitehorse Basin.
I believe that Brad Cathers will probably retreat from opening all the areas up, paint it as a compromise and just open up areas around Carmacks. That is where the gas companies want it, near the gold mines.
I reject this shortsighted idea. Why does Casino need this much energy? Exactly what kind of mining process are they using to consume so much power? Faro used a third of that power and look at the mess we have there now.
Miners like to say that gold made this territory what it is today, and now it seems that gold is destroying the Yukon through oil and gas development.