Category: Patti McLeod Letters

We’re pursuing a balanced, science-based understanding

Patti McLeod, MLA for Watson Lake

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star and Yukon News on Friday, Nov 1st, 2013
by Patti McLeod, MLA for Watson Lake
Chair, Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing

As committee chair, I am pleased to provide the public with an update on the work of the Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing.

So far, we have had a number of excellent briefings that have enhanced our understanding of the process of hydraulic fracturing and the context of the legislative and regulatory regime for oil and gas in Yukon.

We have met with the Departments of Energy, Mines and Resources, Environment, and Justice, as well as the Yukon Water Board and the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board.

We received presentations from the Yukon Chamber of Commerce as well as Yukoners Concerned About Oil and Gas. All of these presentations are available at http://www.legassembly.gov.yk.ca/rbhf_briefings.html

In the coming months, we have meetings scheduled with academics, environmental groups, as well as Yukon’s chief medical officer of health; all of which are intended to further our understanding of the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing.

In addition, we have written to all Yukon First Nations and have invited them to engage with the committee in a manner of their preference.

In January, we will travel down to the Calgary area, where we plan to visit a site where hydraulic fracturing is used.

While there, we will meet with and learn about the process further from industry, environmental and community organizations.

Once we have determined our schedule and itinerary, we will be happy to share it publicly.

Furthermore, we plan an additional trip in the spring to the Fort St. John/Fort Nelson area to broaden understanding even more.

We also recognize that facilitating an informed public dialogue is an important part of our mandate.

With this in mind, we will host a series of public proceedings beginning in January 2014. At these proceedings, the committee will hear presentations that will be open to the public.

The presentations will occur in the Yukon Legislative Assembly, where the public and media are welcome to observe from the gallery.

After the presentations, committee members will ask questions of the presenters. There will be an opportunity for members of the public to submit written questions to be read by committee members as time allows.

We are still finalizing the list of presenters, but they will include industry, environmental groups, academics, public health officers, regulators, and First Nation representatives that have experience with hydraulic fracturing.

The finalized list will be made public in advance of the event.

All of this is intended to provide the committee and the public with a balanced, science-based understanding of the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing.

The committee has done a significant amount of work to date, and has more work planned in the coming months.

We will endeavour to keep the public as informed as possible about our work and our plans in the months to come.

We’ll keep you informed about our fracking research

Patti McLeod, MLA for Watson Lake

Letter to the editor, submitted to the Whitehorse Star and Yukon News on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
by Patti McLeod, MLA for Watson Lake
Chair, Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing

In our last sitting, the Yukon Legislative Assembly created a select committee to review the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing in Yukon.

As chair of this committee, I would like to provide an update for the public on our work plans for the coming months.

We have met several times and have agreed on a high-level work plan, with some details yet to be finalized.

First of all, we have agreed that we as a committee need to educate ourselves on the process of hydraulic fracturing and the current legislative and regulatory regime for oil and gas development.

To this end, we will receive comprehensive briefings from the Departments of Environment, Energy, Mines and Resources, and Justice, as well as the water board and the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board.

These meetings will occur before the end of September, 2013. Wherever possible, we will make presentation materials available online.

Next, we have agreed in concept to a study tour that would allow us to visit a site where this practice is used, speak to experts and industry representatives, and learn about the legislative and regulatory regimes of other jurisdictions.

It is likely that this tour will be to Alberta or British Columbia. As soon as the details of this study tour are finalized, we will make them available to the public.
Furthermore, over the coming months, we will be seeking presentations from a variety of experts.

They will include academics, environmental groups, industry representatives, business organizations and government officials from other jurisdictions.

Again, once the details of these presentations are finalized, we will make them available to the public.

It is our hope that these initiatives will help us develop a science-based understanding of the process of hydraulic fracturing and the possible benefits and risks associated with it.

Once we have accomplished this, we will be prepared to undertake the rest of our mandate, including public hearings in various communities.

We know there is significant interest in our work, and will endeavour to share as much as possible about our work with the public.

If Yukoners have questions or concerns they would like to share with us, they are welcome to visit the committee website http://www.legassembly.gov.yk.ca/rbhf.html or email us at rbhf@gov.yk.ca

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