We are writing in response to reporter James Munson’s June 19 article Fentie Interfered in the Peel Watershed Plan.
The source of Munson’s story was an internal e-mail and a 22-page draft memo that was sent from officials within Environment Yukon to officials in Energy, Mines and Resources who were reviewing a report prepared by the Peel Watershed Planning Commission.
It is clearly understood that it is the premier’s job to provide a corporate, government-wide perspective to issues and initiatives that ensure the interests of all Yukoners are considered.
In this regard, Premier Fentie advised deputy minister Kelvin Leary that the identification of conservation areas should stem from the land-use planning process created out of the Umbrella Final Agreement and not from any one specific department.
At no time did the premier comment on the specific details contained in the draft 22-page memo, nor did he direct the department to change its comments.
The June 19 article did not accurately convey the nature of the premier’s guidance.
The proposed land-use plan is an ongoing work in progress that is now out for public review and comment and there may be further changes to it before the commission presents its recommendations to the parties later this fall.
When the Yukon government receives the recommended plan from the planning commission this fall, a Yukon government review will be undertaken across departments to provide a response to the commission.
Premier Fentie’s direction was intended to remind departments that Yukon’s responses to the draft land-use plan needed to respect the Peel Watershed planning process as provided for in the Umbrella Final Agreement.
Kelvin Leary, deputy minister Department of Environment
Angus Robertson, deputy minister, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources