First Nation partnership on LNG in question

Officials from the Yukon Energy Corporation and the Yukon Development Corporation appeared before the legislature Tuesday to answer questions.

Officials from the Yukon Energy Corporation and the Yukon Development Corporation appeared before the legislature Tuesday to answer questions about plans to burn liquefied natural gas, develop new hydro and invest in renewable energy.

Interim Liberal Leader Sandy Silver asked about a plan to form a business partnership with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and the Ta’an Kwach’an Council on Yukon Energy’s LNG project.

Those agreements have not been concluded, confirmed David Morrison, president of Yukon Energy.

The project, which seeks to replace two aging diesel generators with natural gas generators, is currently before the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

Silver asked why the corporation is forging ahead with the plan when the agreements with First Nations have yet to be finalized.

“I’m just a little confused,” said Silver. “I don’t know how to word this, I guess. An agreement is not signed, I guess, is what I’m hearing. I’m wondering if – shouldn’t there be an agreement signed before going ahead with this specific project?”

“In a perfect world, you would want to do that, but it isn’t always the case,” said Morrison. “Partnership agreements that we’ve had with First Nations on other projects have not been always signed months and months and months prior to going ahead. They have a life of their own in the sense that they’re discussions between groups.

“We all have our own objectives to achieve and understanding the whole LNG project and how this project would work and how First Nations can invest is a complicated issue. We continue to work with our First Nations partners on this. We are confident that we will conclude an arrangement, we just haven’t been able to get it done yet.”

Progress has already been delayed because an agreement could not be reached with White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad to lease a parcel of land near the Whitehorse dam.

The assessment process was halted Yukon Energy and was forced to rework its plans so that it would require a smaller footprint.

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