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Listen before you frack

Listen before you frack Open letter to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board: I'm writing to request that you reject the latest project put forth by Northern Cross (Yukon) Limited. As I only learned of this project a few days ago, I

Open letter to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board:

I’m writing to request that you reject the latest project put forth by Northern Cross (Yukon) Limited. As I only learned of this project a few days ago, I’m also asking that you extend the deadline so that other Yukoners have time to comment.

This survey work would be a large financial investment for the company. A 3D seismic 700-square-kilometre survey, “to delineate the extent of hydrocarbon prospectivity on oil and gas licences,” assumes that extraction of hydrocarbons in the Eagle Plain Basin is acceptable to the Yukon people. That assumption, however, has yet to be confirmed.

There has been no meaningful attempt to consult Yukoners about whether they want to see fracking as a future outcome for the beloved Yukon landscape. As has been shown over and over again in other jurisdictions, fracking has extremely negative environmental, social and (yes!) economic impacts wherever it is undertaken. If Yukoners were made aware of all of the evidence, I believe they would never agree to this work.

The work of the MLA select committee on hydraulic fracturing has yet to even begin. It does not make sense to start surveys before the committee determines whether hydrocarbon extraction (i.e. fracking the shale) will be permitted.

While the survey work may not apply, the eventual extraction of hydrocarbons uses and contaminates massive quantities of water. The Yukon Water Strategy has also yet to be finalized. Don’t we want to ensure we are honouring the completed water strategy? Is it not hypocritical to be creating a water strategy while simultaneously making plans that have an extremely high risk of endangering Yukon watersheds?

This application comes before important public consultation and political decision making has taken place. It doesn’t make sense for Northern Cross Ltd. to invest time and money into surveys before the Yukon people have spoken.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment, and thank you for your work on behalf of all Yukon people.

Jennifer Line

Whitehorse