Open letter to the select committee regarding the risks and benefits of fracking:
I believe the development of the oil and gas industry and its method of extraction through “fracking” impacts the future of the Yukon more than any issue we have encountered in the 42 years I have lived here. I feel we are at a turning point that could put our land and its future in serious jeopardy.
Considering the immensity of the resources required for extracting liquefied natural gas – the water, sand and the vast areas of land that are deforested in the process – and considering the ensuing contamination of these resources, the environmental consequences are extreme.
I am deeply concerned about the dishonesty of the oil and gas industry’s representatives in regard to reporting about the contamination of the water used in the fracking process. Misrepresenting the facts in order to increase production and profit is nothing new among large corporate organizations (consider the tobacco industry). It is imperative that the select committee investigate well beyond the platform of people in industry who have a huge vested interest in succeeding and the money to promote that interest.
On January 16, the New York Times headlined a United Nations report that said “governments of the world were still spending far more money to subsidize fossil fuels than to accelerate the shift to cleaner energy, thus encouraging continued investment in projects that pose a long-term climate risk…. Nations have so dragged their feet in battling climate change that the situation has grown critical and the risk of severe economic disruption is rising. Another 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies.”
The greenhouse gas emissions associated with burning natural gas are comparable to diesel, but when upstream greenhouse gas emissions are also accounted for (from extraction, processing, liquefaction and transportation), LNG is much worse than diesel, according to Yukoners Concerned about Oil & Gas.
Will we allow an industry that places little value on people’s spiritual connection to their land, and on the health and welfare of communities, to shape our future? And how do we see our future? Do we continue to be a part of the problem or move toward a visionary solution? Supporting oil and gas development in the Yukon is a step backward. It is my hope that this committee will vote “no” to fracking – this is the turning point – taking the first step to building a sustainable, clean, energy program for future generations, a legacy we can be proud of.