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Fracking documents raise ire among Yukon conservationists

Internal government documents accidentally released to a reporter last week revealed advanced planning for fracking have raised the ire of some Yukon environmentalists. 'They're dishonest!' says Don Roberts. 'They're not up front with Yukoners.'

'The whole operation of this government is behind closed doors,' says anti-fracker Don Roberts

Internal government documents accidentally released to a reporter last week revealed advanced planning for fracking have raised the ire of Yukoners opposed to the practice.

"They're dishonest," says Don Roberts, who heads an advocacy group that is opposed to fracking, of the Yukon government. "They're not up front with Yukoners."

The documents include a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the findings of the Legislature's select committee on hydraulic fracturing and a draft speech written for Minister Scott Kent. Both documents show plans to make an economic case for fracking in the territory.

Roberts says the documents, reveal that the Yukon government has already made up its mind to frack, regardless of what people told the select committee on the issue.

"Government is done best when it's done in the open, and when you actually engage in an honest way with citizens," he says. "The whole operation of this government is behind closed doors."

The Yukon Conservation Society was also shocked by the documents.

"It's interesting to be making an economic case for an industry that doesn't exist in the territory," says Christina MacDonald, executive director of the conservation society. "How can you say it's integral to the economy when it's not even here and we're doing just fine?"

NDP leader Liz Hanson agrees the government isn't being open with Yukoners.

"I think the Yukon Party government is going to have a very difficult time explaining itself," she said yesterday.

Hanson says while government may call the documents a draft, it's clear that cabinet provided the initial direction to pursue a policy to develop regulations and attract the industry to the territory.

Liberal leader Sandy Silver was a member of the Legislature's select committee on hydraulic fracturing. 

"It begs the question, why have these committees at all, if you're not going to listen and I mean really listen to what you've heard," he said this morning.

The CBC has requested an interview with the premier, but his office has declined to comment.

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