Fracking fears founded

Fracking fears founded The Yukon Conservation Society must disagree with the Yukon News editorial from Friday, April 5 entitled "Fracking is a foregone conclusion." YCS believes there are many informed people in the Yukon who care about the land, water a

The Yukon Conservation Society must disagree with the Yukon News editorial from Friday, April 5 entitled “Fracking is a foregone conclusion.”

YCS believes there are many informed people in the Yukon who care about the land, water and healthy ecosystems who will actively participate in the consultation process about the future of oil and gas development. YCS and others will work hard to educate decision-makers about fossil fuels and energy alternatives.

As stated by the News, the unfavourable economics and the likelihood that Yukon First Nations will ensure oil and gas companies have a tough road to fracking will prevent imminent fracking. Further, much of the Yukon’s gas is stranded, and the cost of bringing it to market competitively may be difficult to justify its development at all.

YCS suspects that the News may have unwarranted optimism when it suggests that: “maybe groundwater contamination can be avoided with the careful sealing of well casings and other safety measures.” With cumulative well drilling and frack blasting, frack-induced seismicity and naturally occurring earthquakes, maintaining the integrity of well casings into the future to prevent emissions and contamination is unlikely.

The most disturbing suggestion made by the News is that may not “matter much” if methane gas and fracking chemicals pollute the water table because it will occur in remote pockets of the territory far from drinking wells.

This shudder-inducing statement doesn’t bode well when considering environmentally damaging resource extraction industries and the fact that most of the Yukon is not near human settlements. Contaminated groundwater can surface in streams, rivers and lakes. The disastrous trickle-down and food-chain impacts of water pollution to all living things should not be understated or disregarded.

As the issues mentioned earlier will put any actual fracking on hold for now, we hope this will provide enough time for the government to put in place measures to prove its industrial development aspirations are safe. Before permitting fracking, government must design and conduct robust air, water, land and socioeconomic baseline data collection programs in partnership with First Nations, communities and the scientific community.

Then, if fracking does proceed, the territorial government and industry must implement independent rigorous monitoring of air, land and water to compare with baselines. When contamination occurs, development must stop – regardless of distance to human settlement.

The Yukon government may decide that fracking can happen safely and that oil and gas development should proceed as it has in neighbouring jurisdictions. This decision would be in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, as well as the increasing resistance to aggressive resource extraction and continued fossil fuel addiction instead of investments in conservation and renewable energy.

If the Yukon government decides to take us down the fracking road, YCS will work to commit government and industry to actions that will ensure the protection of air, land and water prior to moving forward.

Anne Middler

YCS Energy Coordinator

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision


Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read