North·Exclusive

Yukon government recommends focus on horizontal fracking

PowerPoint presentation prepared for caucus by senior officials at Energy, Mines and Resources notes that select committee "did not recommend a ban or moratorium on fracking."

Documents from Energy, Mines and Resources recommend working on 'regulatory readiness'

Na-Cho Nyak Dun elder Frank Patterson speaking at a consultation session on hydraulic fracturing. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The CBC has received internal government documents revealing the Yukon government's draft strategy for hydraulic fracturing in the territory.

  • Scroll to end of story to read the full documents

The documents include a PowerPoint presentation by the acting assistant deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and a note explaining that the presentation will be given to the government caucus in coming weeks. 

The other document is a draft speech, prepared for Energy Mines and Resources minister Scott Kent.

'Focus on multi-stage horizontal fracking.'

The PowerPoint begins by noting that the report by the Yukon legislative select committee on hydraulic fracturing "does not recommend a ban or moratorium on fracking."

It goes on to say "...it is recommended that YG focus on multi-stage horizontal fracking" and the Eagle Plain and Liard oil and gas basins.

The presentation notes there are currently no proposals for shale gas development in Yukon. It talks about activities the department will do immediately, including launching a public information campaign, conducting an economic study, and establishing baseline data on water, wildlife, and seismic activities.

The document says the government's interdepartmental working group will "work on moving forward with parallel initiatives on: regulatory readiness, economic analysis ... and the appointment of an external review panel."

The documents says regulatory readiness will enhance data collection in the Eagle Plain and Liard basins. It says such baseline data will be "useful to support any industry."

'Explore potential partnerships with affected First Nations'

The PowerPoint also includes a page dedicated to a "First Nation engagement strategy."

That includes hearing First Nations concerns about hydraulic fracturing and continuing to work "government to government with First Nations" to determine what support is needed if oil and gas projects occur within their traditional territories.

The presentation says part of the information and engagement strategy will "stimulate new industry investment" in the territory's oil and gas sector.

The document notes fracking is so controversial that "most people cannot evaluate the merits of the conflicting information."

It recommends setting up an independent expert panel, stating "The goal is to build public trust."

It goes on to point out that more information won't give a "definitive answer" on whether fracking can be done safely, adding that a risk management decision "will always be ... required."

The draft speech prepared for Kent contains much of the same information but it doesn't address the recommendation that the Yukon government focus on horizontal fracturing.

On mobile? Click here to read the PowerPoint or the speaking notes.

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