Canada - Dene Nation agrees more consultation needed on Hydraulic Fracturing


Dene nation press release

Date of publication: 
29 April 2015

YELLOWKNIFE – “We agree that more time is needed in the Northwest Territories for reviewing and discussing hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil, we need to be totally involved, to have a say, in developing a policy and regulatory framework. We are concerned about fracturing, it’s about pressing economic, environmental and health issues,” said Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus.

Erasmus’ comments were made following release of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure’s response to the Government of the Northwest Territories’ proposed regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing and ambitions for drilling activity. “We support the Chair of the committee Robert Hawkins, who is speaking out against the position that the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment is taking by pushing to make horizontal hydraulic fracturing a reality before adequate consultation is completed.”

In 2011, the Dene Nation unanimously passed a resolution at its Dene leadership meeting in Fort Smith calling for a moratorium to be in place until further research is concluded. “We want to ensure that all environmental considerations have been looked at while assessing this unconventional drilling practice. There is no rush to pass legislation, people need to learn about the process and the risks involved before new regulatory regimes are put in place,” said Erasmus. He added, “... the greatest concerns are the many chemicals used in fracking that are carcinogenic and toxic, the seismicity that the industry brings to the area, and the amount of fresh water needed for fracking. Our environment is fragile and we have to know all of the facts associated with this advanced technology.” Furthermore, a long-term territorial energy plan is needed, one that is endorsed by all First Nation governments.

Erasmus said until there are proper regulatory requirements and safeguards in position for this type of development to proceed, the Dene Nation will continue to encourage research and share knowledge on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing with the people of Denendeh. We need public consultation on this highly contentious matter and creation of strong hydraulic fracturing controls.” He concluded by acknowledging the potential for jobs and robust economic development “... but people need more knowledge on what fracking is so we don’t run into problems like the Fox Creek area in northern Alberta where it is reported that seismic earthquakes are consistently occurring because of fracturing.”

For more information, contact:

Phil Mercredi
Dene Nation
Tel: (867) 873-4081
Email: pmercredi [at] denenation [dot] com