It was with great disappointment that I heard that the Yukon government’s exploratory drilling work for the proposed wastewater treatment plant in Dawson has been deemed exempt from the YESAA process and will not be required to undergo an environmental and socio-economic assessment. I understand the reason put forward is that the project is for scientific purposes and therefore not assessable.
Whatever the legal definitions of “scientific” research, I am concerned that this is simply another rouse by the Yukon government to circumvent public consultation and drive projects ahead without informing the public or providing an opportunity for comment Ã just like the Dawson City Front Street resurfacing, or placing a highways camp on the Dome Road. I thought our planning and assessment processes, such as YESAA, were intended to provide transparency, especially where government is both the proponent and the regulator.
The decision also begs the question: If this drilling is scientific, what about quartz mining or even oil and gas exploration? Surely these have similar justifications for “scientific” purposes as they seek information and data on which to base future decisions.
I urge the Yukon government to reconsider this decision and give the people of the Yukon, whom you purportedly serve, the right to consultation and comment that we deserve.