Comments on draft gas processing plant regulations

Yukoners Concerned about Oil and Gas Exploration/Development would like to state categorically that we are opposed to the Yukon government's Energy, Mines and Resources Department proceeding with the dr

Yukoners Concerned about Oil and Gas Exploration/Development would like to state categorically that we are opposed to the Yukon government’s Energy, Mines and Resources Department proceeding with the draft gas processing regulations at this time.

Before the territory puts any gas plant regulations in place, it is important to present Yukoners with the financial implications of moving towards liquefied natural gas. The costs of converting existing diesel generators to LNG is likely to be high, let alone the prospect of building LNG storage capacity or a converter plant to turn the LNG into gas.

If, as proposed, the supply of LNG is trucked from southern Alberta, one must consider the type of truck and the distance travelled from the south in the cost. Keeping the LNG at the required 160 degrees below zero and storing it in specialized tanks will prove very costly. How can a town like Watson Lake, or even a larger jurisdiction like the Yukon, with its small population base, sustain such an expensive endeavour?

Secondly, it must be recognized that LNG is compressed gas and is a highly volatile, explosive substance. How can government or the companies involved guarantee the safety of Yukoners where storage tanks are located in the communities?

And where will the storage tanks be located? Within communities or well removed from them?

Moreover, what about safety on the public highways? Bringing a supply of LNG from southern Canada will require a parade of trucks with double trailers moving along our highways.

Then there is the fact that Yukon does not have the highly trained emergency measures people that it would take to combat fires or explosions. It will take time and financial resources to train these people.

From the perspective of Yukoners Concerned, the real reason that the territory is moving so quickly on the drafts for LNG gas plants and the water strategy is that Yukon Energy has overextended our energy supply by entering into agreements with foreign-owned mining companies and is now in a position where it needs additional capacity to supply these mining companies with Yukoner subsidized power.

Yukoners Concerned deplores the haste with which the government is proceeding in demanding submissions within such a brief framework.

This does not permit time to consider alternatives rather than continuing our dependence on fossil fuels.

We believe that a consideration as to whether Yukon should build LNG gas plants needs to be part of a greater discussion about oil and gas development in the territory, during which a full evaluation of the pros and cons of establishing LNG gas plants can play a part.

Therefore, Yukoners Concerned asks the Yukon’s oil and gas branch to withdraw the draft of gas processing plant regulations until after the all-party select committee has met and discussed with Yukoners all stages of gas development from exploration, through production and reclamation (together with a study of the implications of fracking).

Don Roberts, chair

Yukoners Concerned About Oil and Gas Exploration/Development