Protect the Peel and ban fracking

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The Yukon government has overthrown the Peel watershed regional land-use plan that was supported by a majority of Yukoners and was developed in a grassroots democratic process.

They are now using tax money from Yukoners in a lawsuit to push their Peel plan through, against the wishes of many of these same Yukon taxpayers. There can hardly be a worse use of taxpayers money.

Unfortunately the opinion of the First Nations of that area, who will be the most affected if the Peel watershed is developed, is ignored. The First Nations participated with the Peel Watershed Planning Commission and compromised to see 55 per cent of the area permanently protected, with 25 per cent of the area interim protected that will be reviewed from time to time.

The remaining 20 per cent of the area would be open to possible development. This became the plan that was put forward by the planning commission and was supported by a large number of Yukoners.

But it seems the Yukon government thinks that their obligation to consult means to only provide a possibility for Yukoners to voice their opinion but to ignore them anyway. The Peel plan of the Yukon government is to open 71 per cent of the watershed up for possible development and to somewhat protect the remaining 29 per cent of the watershed.

Temporary roads may even be allowed in the protected areas. What kind of consultation is that? It is meaningless.

A similar scenario seems to shape up regarding fracking in the Yukon. Officials referred to the “world class” regulations in provinces like Alberta and B.C. Yukoners are assured that with these regulations fracking can be done save with no negative consequences for men and nature.

Who should believe this? Why not ask Yukoners and let them decide if fracking should be allowed in the Yukon? Why not have a referendum regarding fracking in the Yukon?

Peter Obermueller

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