Open Letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski, Scott Kent minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and Patti McLeod, chair of Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing,
On Nov. 10 a draft of the Legislative Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing tour of Alberta frack sites was released, but not to the public.
A final draft was belatedly released publicly on Jan. 2 only a week before the trip. I would like to point out that it appears the committee will be primarily shepherded by oil and gas representatives, supporters and/or regulators to tour locations and meetings chosen mainly the pro-industry and government sectors. We all know, or can imagine, these sectors have a strong bias towards hydraulic fracturing. Adding one anti-fracking group to the trip is a wonderful move, but it is not enough. Meetings with those that have been negatively affected by, and/or those critical of oil and gas development are still largely being avoided.
Yukoners Concerned takes exception to this biased approach in that the guidelines for the committee are to study both the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing, not just the so-called positives spun by industry and a fossil-fuel obsessed Alberta government.
Once again we believe that the Yukon Party government does not want Yukoners to know about this; the lack of any public transparency has ensured, thus far, there is no public discussion or input.
We feel that leaving the release of the committee’s schedule to this late in the game is unacceptible. Yukoners should see that this committee is subjecting itself to a biased agenda, deficient in public environmental and health considerations.
On another important concern, I spoke to Patti McLeod a few weeks ago about the legislative hearings that are to take place on Jan. 30 and 31. According to her, they are going to be very restrictive in that the public will not be given the opportunity to present or ask questions directly to the committee. Although she assured me there will be other public meetings in the communities that may be structured so that questions and comments could be presented.
We have not yet seen any posted dates or a list of communities that are going to be visited. It is our opinion that this lack of transparency and limited opportunity for participation by Yukoners is another ploy, just like loading the fracking committee tour with industry-biased tour sites and meetings. They do not want to hear any negative public reactions.
Would you kindly let Yukoners know if you will be following up these concerns.
Don Roberts, chair