Today’s mailbox: Railways and bears

Letters to the editor published Feb. 10, 2021

A2A: A pipeline on rails

The Alaska to Alberta Railway (A2A) would transport oil through the Northwest Territories and the Yukon to the coast of Alaska. But communications from A2A diminish the topic of oil, even though A2A are looking at transporting over one million barrels of oil a day.

That’s unsurprising. The Yukon has declared a climate emergency and climate science tells us that we need to reduce our production (and thus transportation) of fossil fuels, including oil, by six per cent annually to avoid severe climate disruption.

While the project might carry other commodities, the economic core of A2A is oil. An estimated million barrels a day will be transported, producing more emissions when burned than the Yukon produces in 6 months. Even if they reduced that amount by 50 per cent, even if some of that oil is used for non-fuel products, even if we build more local renewable energy to offset emissions, that’s still equivalent to months of Yukon emissions being transported everyday.

The argument that the railway could help cut emissions by allowing for the transportation of other products is pure PR spin at its ripest. This project is betting it’s financial success on the continued transportation of oil — betting directly on continued global emissions and our inability to avoid severe climate change.

Make no mistake, severe climate change would be a crisis worse than any we have faced.

We also need to protect 30 per cent of the earth to maintain biodiversity, which brings up the local risks of A2A. The key argument for building pipelines was that they were a safer way to transport oil than by train. Can that partially be mitigated by using solid state oil? Maybe, but oil itself isn’t the only local impact. The company says they will go around any First Nations opposed to the project, but the impacts of a railway are not limited to its immediate route.

Experts agree that A2A is an economically problematic project, especially as oil declines. Even the Keystone XL pipeline wasn’t actually necessary in terms of oil transport, given expansions to other pipelines and planned projects, so an oil railway definitely isn’t necessary. The cost to transport oil by rail is significantly higher than a pipeline, challenging even A2A’s short-term viability. A former pipeline executive at TransCanada Corp. Dennis McConaghy, has called A2A a “very challenged” project which would only make sense as an absolute last resort.

When green advocates and pipeline execs agree that says something! That’s why I started a petition against A2A,

The company says they want Indigenous ownership (just under half, of course) and that they want to work with communities to reduce impacts. There will be a verbal stream of green-washed ‘good will’ aimed at justifying the transport of oil. It will sound smooth — this is the new, friendly, face of oil. But this project is not climate friendly and tying local economies and industries to a liability like A2A is, at best, a collapse waiting to happen.

Instead let’s create a green economy for the generations to come.

John Curtis

Ibex Valley

Protection of grizzly bears vital

As a keystone species, grizzly bears have a positive effect on the ecosystems where they thrive. They regulate healthy populations of the animals they prey on, such as elk and moose, and keep forests healthy by dispersing seeds and berries through their feces. In regions where hunting sustains remote lifestyles grizzly management requires a delicate balance between human and grizzly bear needs. Caribou are the common target.

Winter is a time of year to think and realize who we are and what responsibilities we have in our communities. Every grizzly bear region in Canada demands an individual critical assessment to protect and maintain this keystone species. Humans die, grizzlies die but living in peace and respect for each other should never die.

History and cultures are a critical component of any resource management plan. We cannot forget the spiritual value and worth of living in synchronicity with the mighty grizzly bear. Humans have forgotten their place as only one species on a large planet. We see ourselves (as) superior and entitled. Many humans put money, the economic gain, above everything else. But to relearn how to be human in a place is to be able to respect the grizzly in his place. It’s time to manage better our humanity and our place in it.

The minority of hunters who engage in the killing of large carnivores, such as bears, wolves, and cougars for sport could threaten any socially acceptable grizzly management plan. Harvest management and human sporting activities are two very different activities.

Do you feel your place, your needs and your relationship with the grizzly bear (frame it) as a predator or a member of a common habitat and neighborhood.

When our neighbours are threatened we support them.

When grizzly bears are threatened we support their rights to be.

Climate is changing, times are changing, our environment is threatened.

The choice is simple — be part of a solution to protect and support within your neighbourhoods.

Sue Greetham

Director, Grizzly Bear Protection Yukon

Letters to the editor

Just Posted

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read