Society must doff its energy shackles, audience told, Humanity will be restored with the end of cheap energy by Ainslie Cruickshank, September 18, 2013, Whitehorse Star
JUST SAY NO – To hydraulic fracturing that is. That’s the message Andrew Nikiforuk espoused at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre last night. The journalist and energy expert was invited up to speak by the Yukon Conservation Society. Humanity will be restored with the end of cheap energy. That’s what Andrew Nikiforuk told a full house at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre Tuesday evening. The Yukon Conservation Society invited Nikiforuk, an award-winning journalist and energy expert, to host a full-day technical workshop on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for people working in the environmental field. In the evening, he gave a public lecture of a more philosophical nature.
Nikiforuk also touched on the specific issue of fracking. … Shale gas, extracted by fracking, “boggles the mind,” Nikiforuk said. The economics behind it are increasingly poor, as energy input needs continue to rise, and the environmental degradation is immense, he argued. … The industry claims natural gas is the key to transitioning from a carbon-based economy to renewable sources of energy. Nikiforuk, however, said the methane leakage alone equates gas from fracking to coal in terms of pollution. That’s not even considering the contamination of water wells. “Here’s the reality of the shale game,” he told his audience. “We have rapid depletion, we have poor recovery, 20 per cent, we have methane leakage all over the place, and Art Berman, who’s a very well-known oil and gas consultant in Houston, puts it this way: ‘this shale is a retirement party, this is an act of desperation, when you are cracking rocks two miles under the ground to accelerate geological forces to produce minute amounts of methane over extraordinary areas, putting groundwater at risk, fragmenting rural landscapes to all hell, chasing a product with a very short lifespan,’” Nikiforuk said.
NDP Leader Liz Hanson, Jim Tredger, the party’s energy critic and a member of the select committee, and Kate White, the NDP’s environment critic, were all present at the lecture Tuesday evening. On her Facebook page this morning, Hanson said the audience size was a “good sign” of the level of engagement on the fracking issue. She said the select committee should be meeting with residents of all communities in the territory, not just Old Crow and Watson Lake. “Now is the time to tell your MLA you want your voice heard – and a record of your views taken and kept on record as this committee prepares to work on behalf of all Yukon citizens.” Darius Elias, the Yukon Party MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin and a member of the select committee, also attended Tuesday’s talk. “It was great to see 200-plus Yukoners out to listen to presentations like this on such an important issue for our territory,” he said. [Emphasis added]