Public session on draft fracking regulations Monday in Yellowknife

Yellowknife residents will get their chance Monday night to weigh in on the Northwest Territories government’s proposed rules for fracking in the territory.

Meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Multiplex

Yellowknife residents will get their chance Monday night to weigh in on the Northwest Territories government's proposed rules for fracking in the territory.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is wrapping up its series of public engagement sessions on the topic. Tonight's session is at the DND gymnasium at the Multiplex from 6-8 p.m.

Just over 30 people attended the first public engagement session in Inuvik in April about proposed new rules for hydraulic fracturing that would apply to operations in the entire territory. The final scheduled public sessions are in Yellowknife tonight and tomorrow. (David Thurton/CBC )

The last session, for French-speaking residents, will be held at the Yellowknife Inn Tuesday at 6 p.m. 

The department has already held sessions in 11 communities where residents have raised issues ranging from what would happen in the event of an oil spill to what some feel is a rushed process to push the regulations through.

One concern raised during sessions that is not currently addressed in the draft regulations is whether to make it mandatory for companies to disclose commercially sensitive information, such as the chemicals used during the fracking process. The proposed regulations would only ask companies if they're willing to do so.

The department says it will wait until the public engagement process and its consultation of aboriginal groups with settled land claims are completed before it makes its final recommendations to cabinet about the regulations this fall.

It also says some companies in B.C. and Alberta are already disclosing those chemicals. Making that change would require new legislation, it added.

The department has so far met with only two aboriginal groups — the Gwich'in Tribal Council and some members of the Sahtu Secretariat board of directors, including chair Ethel Blondin-Andrew — about the regulations. The department says it has reached out twice to other groups but not heard back.

The department could not say whether it's still the government's intention to approve the regulations before the end of this government, saying that decision is up to the cabinet. 

Follow CBC's Guy Quenneville as he tweets from the meeting.


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