Category Archives: Fracking

NWT Petroleum Legislation Proposal Seriously Deficient

April 23, 2018

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians has submitted comprehensive comments on the Government of the Northwest Territories’ proposals for legislation governing petroleum development and industry operations.

The Chapter submission points out a wide array of shortcomings in the GNWT’s suggestions for a legislative framework, including:

  • Failure to address and uphold the requirements of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s, which the NWT Legislative Assembly endorsed unanimously in 2008;
  • The lack of integration and cohesion of the legislation with other renewable and non-renewable regulatory regimes;
  • Its allowance of the acceptability of horizontal fracturing—fracking—for petroleum resources, including the failure to heed best scientific evidence of the environmental and human health harms of the practice, or to carry out regional analysis of fracking in the NWT;
  • The unacceptable ethics of assigning responsibility for regulating petroleum exploration and development to the same ministry responsible for promoting petroleum industry development;
  • The lack of enforceable requirements for the posting of full financial security to meet the costs of environmental remediation and site abandonment, and,
  • A wide variety of other concerns.

See the full letter.


Proposed Federal Environment Law Weak, Indefinite and Narrow

The NWT Chapter filed comments to the federal consultation on Bill C-69, with respect to changes to the Impact Assessment Act, Canadian Energy Regulator Act, and the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Many concerns were noted, including:

  • The failure to fulfill the campaign promise of reinstating protection on the lakes and rivers stripped of protection by the Harper government;
  • The lack of precision and clarity of the Impact Assessment Act and the imposition of artificial deadlines for completion of reviews;
  • The lack of sweeping and powerful protections on the purity of water, and it’s non-commercial availabilty as a human right; and,
  • The exclusion of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act from the comprehensive review of environmental protection laws.

Read the full submission.

On April 28, 2018, Environment Minister Catherince McKenna replied to our letter.

Read the Environment Minister’s reply.

Standing Rock Protest Documentary “Awake” November 16

“Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock”, the three-part documentary film profiling the dramatic protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, is being presented Thursday November 16 at 7 PM in the Northern United Place Auditorium by the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

Awake follows the rise of the historic #NODAPL First Nations-led resistance at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.   Thousands of activists converged to stand in solidarity with the water protector activists.  The pipeline is intended to carry fracked oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields through sovereign land and under the Missouri River, the water source for the Standing Rock reservation and 17 million people downstream.

The collaborative documentary  is created in three chapters directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker and activist Josh Fox (Gasland), Academy Award nominated filmmaker James Spione (Silenced, Incident in New Baghdad) and indigenous filmmaker and Digital Smoke Signals founder Myron Dewey.  It is described as “part of the rallying cry for indigenous sovereignty and clean water that has resonated across the globe”. 

As well as dramatic footage of peaceful protest against militarized local police and private security teams and of day-to-day life of the camp community, the film explores the unity of opposition across cultural lines focused against another environmental tragedy.

Admission is free with donations. 

Download the poster.

Contact:   867 445 2149

Film Presentation–To the Ends of the Earth Details “Extreme” Energy Impacts and Answers

April 24, 2017 

To the Ends of the Earth—the feature film examining the rise of extreme energy, the end of economic growth, and the people caught in the middle—is screening Thursday May 4 at 7 PM in the Northern United Place auditorium.

 The film examines the state of our energy system today, and the people in critical positions watching global developments unfold. We meet Inuit concerned that undersea seismic testing is harming marine mammals Inuit rely upon for food. Or the environmental lawyer who goes on a journey to areas that produce energy for the Tarsands of Alberta.  Or the river conservationist in Utah who fights to protect the Colorado River from oil shale projects that would disturb its headwaters.

To the Ends of the Earth’ brings forward the voices of those who not only denounce the rise of extreme energy, but also envision the new world that is taking shape instead: a future beyond the resource pyramid, a post- growth economy.

The film is presented by the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians.  Admission is by donation.

Fractured Land Film Screening March 23

FL-WWD poster-Northwest TerritoriesFractured Land, the story of a young Dene lawyer and activist’s battle against fracking in Northern British Columbia, will be screened Wednesday March 23 at 7 PM at Northern United Place.

Fractured Land follows the political awakening of Caleb Ben through community life and law school, sharing knowledge with other Indigenous peoples, speaking to larger and larger audiences, dealing with deep community divisions, and building a movement to fight big oil interests.

Fractured Land offers vital lessons for our movement to prevent fracking in the NWT, and on the need to be vigilant of the up-stream impacts affecting the health of the entire Mackenzie River Basin,” says Council of Canadians Co-Chair Lois Little. 

The 2015 film shows how new leaders like Caleb are forging alliances with scientists and environmentalists, sharing strategies using traditional knowledge and contemporary law, and keeping up the pressure for a total, national ban on fracking.

“Fractured Land demonstrates how people have mobilized to protect our precious heritage of fresh water from poisonous fracking operations,”  Little says, “It’s the kind of unity and determination we need if we are to make the new Mackenzie Basin trans-boundary water agreements mean anything for water protection.”

The Fractured Land screening is part of the 2016 Water Week activities underway to raise awareness of water issues in the NWT.

Download the poster

NWT Chapter draws water from Great Slave Lake

DrawingWaterGreatSlaveLakeThe Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter has drawn a jar of water from Great Slave Lake to send to Justin Trudeau. The water will be part of a ‘climate welcome’ action in Ottawa on Nov. 7 to remind the new prime minister about the threats posed by tar sands expansion and pipelines to waterways across this country.

The Athabasca River, which is near many tar sands projects, flows north into the Peace-Athabasca Delta, south of Fort Chipewyan, and then into Slave River and Great Slave Lake. The Natural Resources Defense Council has commented, “Northern communities living downstream from the massive [tar sands] tailings dams are aware and concerned about risks presented by the tar-sands industry upstream. A larger spill could threaten not just the Athabasca river but the Peace-Athabasca delta, Lake Athabasca, the Slave river and delta, Great Slave Lake, and the Mackenzie river and delta, all of which empty into the Beaufort sea. Cleaning such a spill could cost billion of dollars.”

Read More

Husky Withdraws Fracking Sand Application

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians congratulates Husky Oil Operations Limited for withdrawing its application to explore, with the intent to develop, a silica sand mining operation in the Whitebeach Point area of the North Arm of Great Slave Lake.

There has been growing opposition to this project by affected First Nations, particularly the Tlîchô Government and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, and by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal residents of the surrounding area.  The area has historical, cultural, spiritual, environmental, and recreational value.   

“This is no place for a mine, particularly a mine that, aside from being damaging in its own right, would support the environmentally destructive practice of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (shale fracking),” says Peter Redvers, Co-Chair of the NWT Chapter.

“It’s time that industry and public governments recognize that the continued exploitation and use of non-renewable energy sources is not socially, environmentally, or economically sustainable.  The future lies in renewable energy sources and a healthy, diverse, and abundant environment,” Redvers says. 

In light of Husky’s decision, CoC-NWT supports the Tlîchô Government in its efforts to establish the Dinàgà Wek’èhodì protected area in the North Arm and, where appropriate, to expand that protected area to include Whitebeach Point. CoC-NWT will also support ‘Wake Up! Whitebeach Point’, a local effort to educate area residents about the richness of this area.

Download the media release 

Conoco Phillips Well Suspension and Abandonment

The Council of Canadians NWT Chapter has filed comments to the Sahtu Land and Water Board regarding Conoco Phillips’ application for suspension and abandonment of its 2015-16 well drilling program.  The Council is calling for full public disclosure of the volumes of chemicals and fracking fluids used, and fluids produced, and plans for monitoring of ground water quality and the conditions of casings.

Read the Chapter’s letter.

Mobilize Against Fracking

As you likely have heard, the discussion about fracking is heating up throughout the NWT. The fundamental question of whether the NWT wants to pursue this practice has yet to be discussed with residents and no comprehensive review has been undertaken to demonstrate to northerners that this practice is safe.

We are  asking you to come out and have your say at the GNWT’s public engagement session on their proposed fracking regulations on Monday, June 15th at the Multiplex Gym at 6:00 pm.

The environmental assessment of the Husky frac sand project at White Beach Point is beginning. Please consider participating in the June 23rd Yellowknife hearing.If you are interested in speaking about this project, we can provide more details for how to register.

Stay connect through the Fracking Action North (FAN) Facebook page and NWT Council of Canadians Facebook page website

Lois Little


Fracking Regulations Public Meetings

April 13, 2015

The GNWT has issued draft fracking regulations for public discussion over 90 days between April and June 2015. It is expected that the regulations will come into effect by the fall of 2015.

The GNWT’s draft fracking regulations will apply to new applications to frack for exploration and production. They are part of regulations under the Oil and Gas Operations Act and the Petroleum Resources Act, and National Energy Board Filing Requirements.  These relationships are unclear in the information released thus far.

The draft regulations actually include many parts of the existing National Energy Board Filing Requirements word for word, but some regulatory requirements are left out entirely.
The meetings are presented as an opportunity to comment on the regulations, even though no evaluation has been done of whether fracking should go ahead at all.

A fact sheet is available providing background and outlining issues related to the draft fracking regulations.

Citizens are urged to attend the public meetings and present their views on whether fracking should proceed.  See a list of public meetings on the GNWT website.