During the past three months, the Yukon has experienced a flurry of meetings, letters to the editors and public questioning about oil and gas exploration in the Whitehorse Trough.
It is a classic example of democracy at work. Countless Yukoners flooded public meetings and demanded that the Yukon Party government justify why it was going to allow oil and gas drilling in one of the last great watersheds of the world.
It was the Department of Energy, Mines & Resources, which encouraged Yukoners to submit their concerns in writing so it could use the information to write a report to the minister to advise him on how Yukoners felt about oil and gas drilling in the Whitehorse Trough. Many Yukoners wrote extensive critiques and suggestions for the minister, and the department promised that a report would be generated from these submissions.
Before the report was started, the Yukon Party government placed a four-year moratorium on the 12 postings in the Whitehorse Trough and stated that it had listened to Yukoners.
It is my understanding the oil and gas department is not going to write a report for the minister.
My question is, why not write the report? This topic of oil and gas drilling in the Whitehorse Trough will be back again in four to five years time.
Much of the information that was given to the department by Yukoners will still be valuable information in the future development of this great waterway. Many of these Yukoners were well prepared in that they had researched extensively how drilling along this great waterway could change the lifestyle and environment forever. Many of these same Yukoners, at their own expense, advertised in the Yukon newspapers expressing their concerns on what these impacts could mean to future generations. At every government consultation meeting, Yukon citizens presented well-researched concerns on the consequences of oil and gas drilling.
Yukoners demanded that legislation and regulations must be realistic and reflect what Yukoners want.
At all the consultation meetings, the drilling process of fracking was brought up numerous times. It was pointed out that fracking is a process of drilling that injects hundreds of deadly secret chemicals into the ground, utilizing millions of gallons of fresh water to force the gas to the surface.
Many of these chemicals have proven to be cancerous and would remain in the ground after use and eventually would come to the surface, poisoning our land and water supply.
Time after time, Energy Minister Brad Cathers stated there would be no shallow fracking in the Yukon, but that was only his word and was not written in legislation. He did not state that deep fracking would not be allowed.
It is my opinion that all fracking should be banned in the Yukon.
When will the Yukon Party government start holding public consultations on needed changes to the oil and gas legislation and regulations?
If the Yukon Party MLAs are serious about transparency and democracy, what better way of engaging and encouraging Yukoners to get involved in the process for future generations?