Open letter to the Yukon government’s select committee on fracking:
As one of more then almost 6,000 citizens who have implored the Yukon government to ban fracking in our territory (the most signatures ever, on a petition in the Yukon), I hope you are getting a clear message that Yukoners are passionate about keeping this devastating process out of our territory.
Surely, the government that appointed your committee realizes by now that its constituents are not in favour of allowing fracking in our territory. To reflect the will of the majority, you need to take the courageous position of making an unequivocal recommendation against fracking.
Yukoners have expressed their concerns about the amount of water required for this process (water that will never be returned to the hydrological cycle), the resultant damage to the air as well as surface water and underground aquifers, the consequences to human and animal health, the blight on our pristine landscapes, and the false economics touted by the industry.
Speaking to regulators in other jurisdictions is an ill-founded strategy, given the fact that there is no jurisdiction on record that has implemented effective regulation. On the other hand, the devastation of the air, water, land, and in many cases, the health of wildlife and human populations where fracking has taken place is well documented. I’m sure by now that you have reviewed the experience in Alberta and B.C., as well as that of the U.S., where scientists have repeatedly warned of the serious consequences of this process, and where these consequences have become a reality.
The economic arguments in favour of fracking, based on experience in other jurisdictions, are hollow. The damage to roads, and the demands on infrastructure, along with the environmental devastation, has always led to a negative result on the balance sheet of risks and benefits.
Industry promises jobs, and yet these are so few in number (most positions are technical in nature, requiring highly skilled individuals) and are of very short duration. Once the trees are cut, there is little other non-skilled work involved.
Other countries have partnered with industry to create jobs in the development and production of renewable resources, and Nova Scotia’s ban on fracking is courageous.
At this juncture, the Yukon government has the opportunity to become a leader and a model in the development of renewable energy. There is ample evidence to show that it is possible for us to move away from fossil fuels over the next few years. Let’s take up the challenge, for the good of our citizens, our entire country, and our future generations.
What a significant legacy for the Yukon government to leave, and what a huge contribution to society it would be, to demonstrate our ability to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.