Undermining our assessment regime will hurt the Yukon

Undermining our assessment regime will hurt the Yukon The recent criticism of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board by Northern Cross, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, the Yukon Chamber of Mines and Economic Development Minister Stacey

The recent criticism of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board by Northern Cross, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, the Yukon Chamber of Mines and Economic Development Minister Stacey Hassard demands a response.

While it might be expected that the chambers would be critical of YESAB, Mr. Hassard’s views further illustrate the government’s lack of support for YESAB. The government appears to be determined to weaken YESAB, a process that began with the four controversial amendments to Bill S-6.

The Yukon Party government regards the YESAB process as an impediment to the rapid approval of resource extraction, rather than a safeguard to ensure that development may occur after consultation with affected First Nations and with protections for Yukon’s water and wildlife in place.

The issue that prompted these attacks is YESAB’s decision to send Northern Cross’s application to drill 20 wells in the Eagle Plain basin to YESAB’s executive committee for review. There were numerous concerns submitted about the lack of detailed information about such things as: the project’s impact on the Porcupine caribou herd’s migration and over-wintering habitat; waste disposal sites; water availability for the 20 drill sites and lack of baseline studies relating to water and, permafrost; radioactivity in drill waste; and the mitigation of roads and cut lines.

As the assessment unfolded, YESAB also determined that Northern Cross’s application was incomplete. Four times YESAB requested additional information to address inadequacies in Northern Cross’s application. Northern Cross itself took a year to respond to one of YESAB’s information requests. So the notion that YESAB is solely responsible for excessive time spent on this assessment is a misrepresentation of the facts.

Assessing a project of this magnitude with its possible severe repercussions for the Vuntut Gwitchin and their dependency on the caribou, and the immediate and cumulative impacts on the herd, the water and the permafrost requires scientific studies and time.

We surely don’t want to end up with another Faro catastrophe. We must protect our environment from ill-conceived approvals, today and for future generations.

Donald Roberts Yukoners Concerned About Oil/Gas Development and Exploration

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

Just Posted

An avalanche warning sigh along the South Klondike Highway. Local avalanche safety instructors say interest in courses has risen during the pandemic as more Yukoners explore socially distanced outdoor activities. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)
Backcountry busy: COVID-19 has Yukoners heading for the hills

Stable conditions for avalanches have provided a grace period for backcountry newcomers

Several people enter the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 26. The Yukon government announced on Jan. 25 that residents of Whitehorse, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and Mount Lorne areas 65 and older can now receive their vaccines. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Vaccine appointments available in Whitehorse for residents 65+

Yukoners 65 and older living in Whitehorse are now eligible to receive… Continue reading

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres centre Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals, scores in win against Rangers

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read