Protect Yukon’s water

Protect Yukon's water Open letter to the select committee regarding the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing: Oil and gas exploration about 40 kilometres south of Eagle Plains was in full swing during the winter season. More than 4,000 kilometres o

Open letter to the select committee regarding the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing:

Oil and gas exploration about 40 kilometres south of Eagle Plains was in full swing during the winter season. More than 4,000 kilometres of seismic line development was granted to Northern Cross, a company that is 60 per cent owned by the Chinese government.

During their exploration efforts Northern Cross has attempted to find groundwater resources which are needed for oil and gas development. The area is accessible via Chance Road, for company employees only.

Permafrost is up to 1,000 metres deep in the area. Even with drill holes over 200 metres deep, the company hired by Northern Cross could not detect any groundwater resources. Eagle Plains Lodge has access to water resources which barely covers their demand.

The Yukon Water Board will have to issue water licences to potentially interested oil and gas companies. Where does the committee suggest the water for the hydraulic fracturing process will come from in the North? Who is responsible if rivers and wetlands dry out?

Chapter 14 of the Umbrella Final Agreement guarantees First Nation unaltered water quantity and rate of water flow. How will this be possible with this type of extraction?

Another issue is radioactive pollution in the recaptured water after well injection. Chesapeake Energy’s research shows that radioactive pollution will increase to 200 times (Radium 226) during the fracturing process. The maximum of radioactive particles is reached at about 700 hours after injection of the fracturing fluid. Only an average of 25 per cent of the “flowback water” is usually recovered (see Marcellus Shield, P.A.).

Where will the recovered water be recycled, since we don’t have facilities to deal with radioactive water pollution in the Yukon? And how do we know if the unrecoverable water will not enter our surface water resources later on?

I am looking forward to your answers.

Angela Sabo

Whitehorse

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