Open letter to Mark Nelson, president of Chevron Canada Ltd:
We were shocked to read your June 17 letter to the editor in the Yukon News supporting development of the remote Crest iron ore deposit in the Snake River Watershed.
Your letter says that Chevron agrees with the need to protect the Yukon’s sensitive ecosystems, and yet you ask the Peel Watershed Planning Commission to allow industrial roads across the Peel and Bonnet Plume rivers, and through critical wildlife areas.
Perhaps you are not aware that the industrial access corridors that appear in the draft Peel Watershed land-use plan are extremely contentious. The proposed road along the Wind River would dissect the heart of the internationally renowned Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume wilderness. The alternate proposed northern road route along the Peel River to the Crest deposit has been used for countless generations by First Nation people for hunting, fishing and traditional activities.
For you to say that Chevron supports the need to protect the Yukon’s sensitive ecosystems, and in the same letter demand open access into one of the world’s last large intact wild areas calls into question your company’s ethics.
In your letter you admit that development of the Crest iron ore deposit would face enormous economic difficulties due to its remote location, lack of infrastructure and formidable terrain. It is exactly these characteristics that make the Peel Watershed, including the Snake River where the Crest deposit is located, such a spectacular and ecologically important place.
The Chevron website says you conduct your business in a socially responsible and ethical manner, and you respect and support universal human rights, protect the environment and benefit the communities where you work.
Three Yukon First Nations with traditional territories in the Peel want the entire watershed protected, and a large majority of Yukoners want the main priority in the Peel to be the protection of the environment, wildlife and wilderness.
The Peel Watershed Plan is in the final stages of development. At this critical point in time we call upon you, as president of Chevron Canada, to respect the environment, the wishes of the majority of Yukon people and the public statements of First Nations.
Please demonstrate that Chevron is a good corporate citizen by giving up your claims to the Crest iron ore deposit, and endorsing major protection in the Peel Watershed.
Chevron has a choice: pursue development of a risky and socially unacceptable industrial venture in the remote Peel region, or become an industry leader in global conservation and corporate stewardship.
Karen Baltgailis, Yukon Conservation Society
Mike Dehn, CPAWS-Yukon
Walden’s Guiding and Outfitting Ltd.
Widrig Outfitters, 97 Ltd.
Bob Wagner, Wind River Trail trapper
Insa Schultenkotter, Keno resident
Sonia Stange, Keno resident