Anti frackers pressure premier

A group of Yukoners are taking a petition door to door to encourage the territory to put the brakes on oil and gas development.

A group of Yukoners are taking a petition door to door to encourage the territory to put the brakes on oil and gas development.

Yukoners Concerned About Oil & Gas Exploration/Development collected 328 signatures in Premier Darrell Pasloski’s Mountainview riding in the days leading up to a constituency meeting that took place last

Wednesday, said Julie Frisch, a member of the group.

The petition urges the Yukon to ban hydraulic fracturing in the territory and also to halt plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant in Whitehorse.

“Many people here in the Yukon don’t get the connection between fractured gas and liquefied natural gas,” said Frisch in an interview Monday morning. “And this is all happening so fast, with no need for it to be happening so fast.”

In total, the petition has earned close to 1,700 signatures so far, said Frisch.

At Wednesday’s meeting, members of the group gave Pasloski a copy of the petition and told him how many of his constituents had signed, she said.

The group plans to continue to collect signatures over the summer and present the petition to the Yukon Legislative Assembly in the fall, said Frisch.

Meanwhile, Yukon Energy continues to push plans to replace two aging diesel generators in Whitehorse with ones that burn natural gas.

That $34.5 million project is currently being reviewed by the Yukon Utilities Board and the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

There’s no need to rush a solution to Yukon’s need for back-up power, said Frisch.

Using LNG will not only support hydraulic fracturing elsewhere in the country, but will also pave the way for the industry to enter the Yukon, she said.

In the last decade improvements in drilling technology have led to a boom in the use of fracking to exploit shale gas reserves.

By pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals into shale formations deep underground, gas companies can break apart the rock and release the gas trapped inside.

Just last week the Council of Canadian Academies released a report, commissioned by Environment Canada, that found we don’t know enough about the environmental impacts of the practice to regulate it properly.

Hydraulic fracturing has never been done in the Yukon, but EFLO Energy Inc., the company with controlling interest in the Kotaneelee gas project in southeast Yukon, says it would like to develop shale resources there in the next five or 10 years.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

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