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WIN! Husky withdraws its application to drill for fracking sand

NWT chapter

Northwest Territories Chapter

In a terse two-sentence letter to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board dated today (June 16), Calgary-based Husky Oil writes, “Please be advised that Husky Oil Operations Limited is withdrawing its application with respect to the [Chedabucto Mineral Exploration Project].”

The company had wanted to conduct exploratory drilling near Chedabucto Lake for silica, a hard mineral substance used to prop open underground fractures during the fracking process to enable the gas or oil to be released. But in January of this year the Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter wrote to the Wek’eezhii Land and Water Board asking them not to grant the permit to Husky to do this drilling on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake. The chapter also asked the Board to refer Husky Oil’s application to an environmental assessment.

This evening, MyYellowknife.com reports, “In mid-February, Husky’s plans were sent to an environmental assessment to be conducted by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. At the time, the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board, which received the proposal, [also] decided it ‘might be a cause of public concern’, particularly regarding the cultural value of Whitebeach Point to the local community.”

The letter from NWT chapter activist Peter Redvers had highlighted a number of concerns about this permit application.

Redvers wrote, “The North Arm remains a pristine landscape with clean water; abundant fish populations; a variety of wildlife, including migratory birds, moose, and boreal caribou, which is a threatened species under NWT Species at Risk legislation. …This exploratory program is the beginning phase of a development process that could fundamentally damage, in perpetuity, large sections of the land. …Damaging a pristine environment to access a known health hazard to support a controversial and unproven oil extraction process that will significantly contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater loss makes no sense.”

Husky had hoped to begin exploratory drilling in March or April, but today formally withdrew their application.

Congratulations to the Northwest Territories chapter and everyone who worked to stopped this project.

Further reading
NWT chapter opposes silica mining near Chedabucto Lake (January 2015 blog)