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