No to oil exploration

No to oil exploration It's been just over a year since Yukoners realized how fragile our democracy is when it comes to dealing with the oil and gas industry, when unnamed companies expressed interest in exploring the Whitehorse Trough. Fortunately, once

It’s been just over a year since Yukoners realized how fragile our democracy is when it comes to dealing with the oil and gas industry, when unnamed companies expressed interest in exploring the Whitehorse Trough.

Fortunately, once Yukoners realized what was at stake, they rallied, protested, shared information and got themselves educated. Now we have another disposition process going on in Eagle Plains (More Oil and Gas Interest in Eagle Plain, The News, Jan. 30), people may not care so much because it is so far away. We also feel the collective guilt of driving our cars and heating our homes. Maybe we should let this one slide.

We need to stop feeling guilty about our fossil fuel dependency. It is crippling our ability to think straight about our energy future.

We realize that we have gotten ourselves into a messy situation with this fossil fuel dependency. We know that we need to wean ourselves off of it. Does this sound like an addiction? Who is the pusher?

The oil industry would like us all to think that we will have to go back to the Stone Age if we don’t continue with our oil addiction.

We built the technology that led us here. We will certainly build the appropriate technology to get us off this drug, clean up our environment and move us forward.

Now is the time to act. In the Yukon we are at a major crossroads. Our territorial government is about to embark on a course of gas extraction for a new economic dependency. Whether it’s opening up Eagle Plains to more dispositions (which happened on Jan. 25), the changes to the Oil and Gas Act which affect the Liard Basin and the Whitehorse Trough, the outright trashing of the final recommended plan for the Peel, or Yukon Energy switching to liquefied natural gas, it all points to fracking.

Fracked natural gas is the worst kind of fossil fuel drug: it’s cheap (at the moment), very dirty and highly addictive. As a case in point, if we let Yukon Energy change its diesel generators to LNG, we are tying ourselves to a fossil fuel source for which price and supply will radically change once exports to Asia begin. Then Yukon Energy will be stranded with an expensive fuel and the utility will plead with the government and oil Companies to look for and exploit a “local” supply. That means fracking in Eagle Plains and the Whitehorse Trough.

We have to say no to fossil fuel exploitation in the Yukon. Our future energy developments should be focused only on renewable energy.

Our government has to stop wasting any more tax dollars on facilitating and subsidizing the oil and gas industry. For sure we’ll be importing it for a while, but we should work towards importing less.

We do things differently here in the Yukon – let us continue that trend and make the Yukon Canada’s first real sustainable energy economy. The carrying capacity of this beautiful land needs to be limited to efficient and conservative development, which can be powered by renewables. It is the only way forward.

Sally Wright

Kluane Lake

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