Fracking testimony in Watson Lake comes with a beat

MLAs got another earful both for and against fracking during a stop in Watson Lake, Yukon, including an anti-fracking rap song by Sarah Newton, lands manager of the Liard First Nation.

'Don't frack with my habitat,' Liard First Nation lands manager Sarah Newton rapped to MLAs

Sarah Newton, lands manager for the Liard First Nation in Watson Lake, delivered her anti-fracking message in rap last night. She was one of about 30 people who came out to have their say on fracking in Yukon. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

About 30 people came out in Watson Lake to have their say on Yukon fracking policy, with many saying fracking can be done safely and create jobs.

"I support hydraulic fracturing in the Yukon, especially in southeast Yukon,” said Cheryl O’Brien.

Jenny Skelton agreed.

“Right now, all I hear, I hate to use this word, but hysterical propaganda anti-fracking. I really would like to hear the good parts of fracking as well as the bad things about fracking, but I don't want to be swayed by propaganda." 

A six-person, all-party committee of MLAs is holding hearings across the territory in order to write a report this fall on the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing in the territory.

The most vivid presentation came from Sarah Newton, the land manager for the Liard First Nation, who presented a rap song, ‘Don’t frack with my habitat.’

Newton says traditional hunting and fishing can’t happen unless the ecosystem is intact.

“People say you can't go hunting north, there's mining projects that way. You can't go hunting to the east because there's development that has happened that way. And you can't go hunting to the West because of the highway and all the impacts that are happening there.”

Newton acknowledged that the oil and gas industry has changed, but says it’s not enough.

“Many environmental practices in the industry have changed and improved, but what's not are the economic benefits reaching the community level.”

Opponents of fracking voiced concerns over groundwater and effects on wildlife.

The committee also received a petition against fracking signed by local Kaska people.

The MLA committee will be in Teslin tonight, Old Crow on Wednesday and Dawson City on Thursday.

Hear more voices both for and against fracking in Watson Lake:


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