Great News – Husky Silica Application Referred to EA
February 13, 2015
The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians is pleased to hear that the Wek’eezhii Land and Water Board has referred Husky Oil’s application for a silica drilling program at Whitebeach Point to environmental assessment. In its Reason for Decision, the Board stated that:
“… the public concern it identified in relation to this proposed land use operation is substantial and widespread. It should be addressed before operations are initiated. The Board decided that an EA should be undertaken to facilitate further engagement, broad participation in the process, more thorough consideration of traditional knowledge and cultural impacts, and evaluation of a comprehensive array of factors that may be contributing to public concern .”(p. 6).
This decision was made following letters of intervention from a number of First Nations, NGO’s, government departments, and individuals, including the Tlicho Government, the Yellowknives Dene First Nations, Alternatives North, and CoC NWT, among others.
The Board specifically noted concerns about immediate environmental, cultural, and spiritual impacts; the addition of a bulk sampling program to the application; the proximity of the project to Tlicho conservation lands; and Husky’s lack of response to these concerns.
This decision sends a positive message: That there must be a more thoughtful and thorough evaluation of the impacts of certain developments before they proceed – to ensure that environmental and cultural values are fully protected. CoC NWT hopes that this message can be carried forward to any and all decisions relating to horizontal hydraulic fracking operations in the NWT, including exploring for and developing silica deposits for use in fracking operations.
Thank you to those who chose to speak out and helped influence this wise decision of the Board.