Saying no to fracking

 

What is hydraulic fracturing?

Hydraulic fracturing is a way to extract natural gas from the ground. To do so, drilling operations inject millions of litres of water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure into shale rock formations. Its present intensive form, known as horizontal fracking, has only seen widespread use in Canada over the last decade.

 

At a glance: the Select Committee on the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing

An all-party Yukon Legislative Assembly committee of six MLAs was mandated to gain a scientific understanding of hydraulic fracturing and to consult Yukoners about the practice. The committee:

  • Held public meetings in 12 Yukon communities.
  • Heard First Nations express strong opposition to hydraulic fracturing.
  • Received over 700 written submissions from members of the public. More than 95% of these submissions opposed hydraulic fracturing.

The committee approved 21 recommendations that must be met before hydraulic fracturing can be considered. The Yukon NDP caucus believes that fracking should not be permitted without social license from the Yukon public, but the committee could not reach consensus on this recommendation.

 

Where the Yukon NDP caucus stands on hydraulic fracturing

In light of the scientific evidence and overwhelming opposition by First Nation governments and Yukon citizens, the Yukon NDP caucus does not support hydraulic fracturing in Yukon.

Hydraulic fracturing carries many environmental and social risks. The scientific community is clear: there is simply not enough evidence that fracking can be done safely. It would be irresponsible to support the development of regulations for the exploration and development of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing.

We think the select committee’s report marks the beginning, rather than the end, of a wider discussion on Yukon’s energy future and alternatives to fossil fuel. Many Yukoners and climate scientists told the committee that the government should do more to invest in renewable energy.

 

Fracking: myths and facts

Isn’t LNG sourced through fracking a clean source of energy?

No. In addition to harming water sources and natural habitats, recent studies indicate that methane leaked during the fracking process outweigh its lower carbon dioxide emissions. Liquefied natural gas is not the bridge to a cleaner energy future; it is a barrier.

 

Can’t we just regulate the industry to make hydraulic fracturing safe?

No. Attempts at regulations in other jurisdictions have not prevented harmful environmental, social and health impacts. Many aspects of regulatory frameworks governing shale gas development are not based on strong science, remain untested and are difficult to enforce. The risks of fracking in Yukon outweigh any potential short-term benefits.

 

Doesn’t fracking create local jobs and promote economic development?

No. Fracking is another boom-bust industry at the mercy of international commodity prices. Yukoners will be left to pick up the tab for the infrastructure, environmental and social costs when the industry inevitably leaves Yukon. Instead, let’s stimulate economic development, create jobs and meet our energy needs by developing renewable power sources.

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