Kwanlin Dun invests in natural gas, while opposing hydraulic fracturing

The decision to invest in Yukon Energy's liquefied natural gas plant is supported by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation community, according to the chief.

The decision to invest in Yukon Energy’s liquefied natural gas plant is supported by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation community, according to the chief.

Members were provided information about the deal at a packed meeting at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre earlier this year, and almost everyone supported the investment, said Chief Doris Bill in an interview this week.

“I can tell you that majority of the citizens that were in the room, with the exception of one, were in favour – maybe two,” she said.

“I think we have done our due diligence. We asked many questions and educated ourselves about LNG and this particular project, and we were satisfied with what we saw.”

The deal will see the First Nation invest up to 50 per cent of value of the project, with the option to do the same for future phases. It will also give the First Nation first rights to access the supply chain if it decides to get into the LNG business on its own.

The decision on how much money to contribute to the project will be made shortly, but no date has been set, said Bill.

Yukon Energy had also been in discussions with Ta’an Kwach’an Council about partnering on the LNG project, but that First Nation backed out in late 2013, citing concerns over hydraulic fracturing.

The LNG for the power plant will be trucked in from Delta, B.C., and will be made up of a mix of conventional and fracked gas.

“Given that the Ta’an Kwach’an Council and our elders’ council have both passed resolutions banning fracking on our traditional territory and settlement lands, we just didn’t think that this project was in our best interest,” Chief Kristina Kane said at the time.

Bill said that while the Kwanlin Dun expect to invest in the LNG project, they still oppose fracking within their traditional territory.

“This is not about fracking,” she said. “Kwanlin Dun is not going to be fracking, neither is (Yukon Energy). We’re not going to be getting into the fracking business.”

People who oppose energy projects wholesale “need to stop using their vehicles, flying planes, using their cellphones and do away with home heating,” said Bill.

When it comes to fracking here, though, the First Nation is still wary.

“Nothing so far has given me any comfort to proceed with fracking in our territory,” said Bill.

“I think the science is still out on it.”

Yukon Energy’s liquefied natural gas power plant is expected to start up next month.

The corporation expects to save 25 per cent on fuel costs relative to diesel for back-up and peak power generation.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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