Many Yukoners are shocked at the latest revelation, as disclosed in a document written by Shirley Abercrombie, acting assistant deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, that the Yukon Party government should go down the fracking path.
Abercrombie’s recommendation comes despite the overwhelming majority of Yukoners who spoke to the all-party select committee on the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing or responded online (over 700 written and spoken comments), being opposed to fracking, as well as the close to 8,000 Yukoners who signed a petition to ban the practice.
The all-party select committee made 21 recommendations in its final report released in January of this year. Nowhere in this report did they recommend a “focus on multi-stage horizontal fracking,” as proposed by Abercrombie.
Where, then, did Shirley Abercrombie’s recommendation come from? In all honesty, the answer is the Yukon Party government under the leadership of Premier Darrell Pasloski.
From the beginning of this journey in 2011, Yukoners Concerned about Oil and Gas Development suspected that fracking was the goal. In 2012, the Yukon Party government established the select committee to defuse the fracking controversy, but meanwhile they continued to work on legislation and regulations to accommodate the introduction of fracking by making changes to environmental laws and the water act, and by rapidly committing to build the unnecessary liquefied natural gas “back-up” plant at Yukon Energy.
Abercrombie’s document would have the government massage and bombard First Nations and Yukoners with the message that fracking can be safely regulated. However, we know from other jurisdictions that legislation and regulations will not safeguard our water from being permanently polluted.
The assistant DM goes on to urge the government to develop a strategy “targeted at First Nations, the general public and stakeholders.” In other words, expect a barrage of taxpayer-funded propaganda aiming to convince us that fracking can be safely managed thanks to Yukon’s regulations. The truth is the best regulations in the world cannot protect the water from being permanently polluted.
Clearly Pasloski and his Yukon Party government cannot be trusted. They’ve demonstrated their disdain for Yukoners’ views before and now they’re doing it again.
It’s time Yukoners change government before we lose more of our democracy and our environment.