Please stand by consultation promise

Please stand by consultation promise Open letter to Resources Minister Brad Cathers: Much has been said in the legislature about oil and gas during this sitting. You have often spoken of the Yukon Conservation Society and included YCS in your government

Open letter to Resources Minister Brad Cathers:

Much has been said in the legislature about oil and gas during this sitting. You have often spoken of the Yukon Conservation Society and included YCS in your government’s Motion 309.

The motion indicates some progress toward responding to Yukon peoples’ concerns about oil and gas development in the Yukon.

Thank you for meeting with us on Nov. 21. We are disappointed that you did not agree to our request for a five-year moratorium on fracking, which is less than thousands of Yukon people asked for in the petition to ban fracking in the Yukon.

However, Part 3 of your motion shows your government’s commitment to public consultation about the oil and gas industry, including fracking, before regulatory approvals or permits allow fracking in the Yukon.

We see this as a de facto temporary moratorium. It provides assurance that your government will not allow fracking while consultation is underway. This is particularly important not only in Eagle Plains, but also in the southeast Yukon, where EFL Overseas recently acquired significant interests in the Kotaneelee gas fields “with its conventional and important unconventional resource development opportunities,” as the company’s website states.

We understand that EFL Overseas wants to test the shale gas potential (i.e. wants to frack), and your government wants to allow development in this area without the consent of the Kaska, whose traditional territory it is located in. We would like the Yukon government to confirm that its commitment to not permit fracking while public consultation is underway includes fracking at any scale, including appraisal or exploration fracking, not just large-scale production fracking, everywhere in the Yukon.

In the legislature, you have described the forthcoming public consultation as “a good discussion of the risks and benefits of oil and gas activity, whether action is needed to better regulate this activity, or whether certain activities should not be allowed.”

We hope this statement is an assurance that the public consultation will inform decisions about the future of oil and gas in the Yukon, including whether fracking should or should not be allowed.

We urge your government not to pass your proposed amendments to the Yukon Oil and Gas Act, and to include them in the consultation.

During the consultation around similar amendments in the summer of 2009, the public, First Nations and YCS did not support removing Section 13’s requirement of consent from First Nations without a Final Agreement.

Removing Section 13 would be a bad-faith move that would harm your relationship with First Nations, raise the threat of litigation and direct action, and would not provide certainty for industry.

Proceeding with these changes to the Yukon Oil and Gas Act would severely erode your credibility. Such a unilateral and adversarial move would make it difficult for Yukon people to believe that your government will actually undertake a credible consultation process and make responsible decisions based on that input.

Anne Middler,

energy co-ordinator

Yukon Conservation Society

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

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read