I came to the Yukon on a holiday in 1973. I stayed because this place is special. I’d like to see it kept that way.
Before coming to the Yukon I was an underground driller in a hardrock mine north of Sudbury. I doubt that I qualify as a tree hugger – not that there’s anything wrong with that!
I feel very strongly, however, that hydraulic fracturing should have no place in the Yukon for the foreseeable future. Years ago, in reference to sex, a British politician said that the pleasure was momentary, the position ridiculous and the expense damnable. To paraphrase, I suggest that when it comes to fracking the benefit is transient, the consequences appalling, and the cost incalculable.
I’m sure that many remember when Faro was in its heyday. At one time it provided many jobs, though I don’t believe the majority of beneficiaries were Yukoners. The profits have left the territory. What is left, however, is a massive bill for cleanup and reclamation – a job to be done, if I understand correctly, primarily by an Outside company to the tune of several hundred million dollars over the coming decades.
I don’t think Yukoners ever want to see that scenario again. And I believe that fracking has the potential to make the mess in Faro look like a mud puddle.
The time may come that years down the road, in the time of our grandchildren’s children, their need may be greater, the product more valuable, and the risks more manageable.
In the meantime, why rush to extract? I believe there is good reason so many areas around the globe – even some jurisdictions of Texas – have declared a ban on hydraulic fracturing.
I also suspect that supply and demand will lower the value of this resource. In the short term, at least, there is certainly no shortage of shale oil deposits. Some sources suggest that deposits just over the N.W.T. border may dwarf those in North Dakota. Do we want to sully our wilderness in pursuit of what may well be, near term at least, a resource that is diminishing in value?
If we leave this potential resource in the ground we can benefit by learning from the experiences of others. If future generations have not developed alternate energy sources that will render shale oil redundant, if the time ever comes when they need it, it will be a potential blessing. In the meantime, let it not be a potential curse.
I advocate as strongly as possible for an extended moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Yukon.