Oil and gas in your backyard

Oil and gas in your backyard The Yukon government is asking for input on proposed changes to the Yukon Oil and Gas Act. The Yukon Conservation Society would like to bring this to the public's attention, as some of the changes have important repercussion

The Yukon government is asking for input on proposed changes to the Yukon Oil and Gas Act.

The Yukon Conservation Society would like to bring this to the public’s attention, as some of the changes have important repercussions for all Yukon people who have an interest in land ­Ð including their own backyards.

The proposed changes are particularly important to farmers, trappers, outfitters, home and property owners within the Whitehorse Basin Ð an area that extends from the BC border north to Carmacks and is as wide as the distance between Teslin and Carcross.

There are oil and gas deposits in this area, and lots of private property.

The Yukon government wants to change Section 69 to give oil and gas companies easier access to land in the Yukon.

In fact, if the changes are passed, this access becomes a right. This right of access is not just for a holder of a licence for oil and gas activity, but also for anyone thinking of applying for a licence.

The new legislation would mean a person or company has the right to access land for surveys and other examinations for potential oil and gas activities. No definition of examinations are given, so YCS fears this could include drilling, seismic exploration or other invasive and environmentally damaging testing.

Similar unlimited access for fossil-fuel companies has caused all sorts of conflicts in Alberta, sometimes with disastrous outcomes.

This would represent a change from the Yukon’s existing legislation, which states that access cannot happen without the consent of the person who has the right or interest in the land.

The proposed Section 70 states a person or company wanting to pursue oil and gas activity on land where others have an interest, can obtain an interest in that land by agreement or, failing that, by expropriation. It does not suggest the mechanism for expropriation of land.

This means the government could decide the future of your property without your consent, and the government might feel the best use of your farm or yard is for oil and gas activity.

The Yukon government also wants to remove the requirement of consent of First Nations.

The Yukon News recently published an article about the Yukon government’s plan to remove Section 13 Ð its obligation to get consent of First Nations without settled land claims prior to opening up their traditional territories to oil and gas development.

The oil and gas resources branch has an objective to promote development of fossil fuels in the territory, and the existing Section 13 is an obstacle to its plans to exploit the gas resources in the Liard Basin in southeast Yukon.

The Yukon Conservation Society suggests that, if the government is keen on developing fossil-fuel resources in southeast Yukon, it work together with the Kaska First Nations on a land-use plan for this sensitive area prior to industrial development.

The deadline for comments on the proposed changes to the Yukon Oil and Gas Act is Monday at 5 p.m. For more information go to www.yukonoilandgas.com and click on the consultation webpage.

Anne Middler, energy co-ordinator

Yukon Conservation Society


See more letters page 8.

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

Just Posted

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read