6 ways local fuel sourcing could empower Yukoners’ energy future

Community consultation and government regulation

Imagine knowing that the gasoline fueling your car helps Yukon – knowing that it has been extracted and refined in the most responsible way possible, giving control over the entire process to consumers in a way that’s simply not possible when we import all of our gasoline and diesel. 

Producers can ensure that everything is done to their standards and that local benefits are created. We’ve seen this through mining in Yukon, which isn’t only the largest private sector industry in our territory, but also has support ratings in the North significantly above the national average. Yukoners know firsthand how well resource development can be done. The fact that energy security is at the center of it just furthers the importance of communities taking the charge on exploring local fuel resources.

Less reliance on imported fuels where we have no say

We can dictate the terms of how these fuels are produced. In every step of the fuel lifecycle, new green technologies can reduce emissions and maximize efficiency. So long as we continue to rely on gasoline and diesel, we need to have more say over the total impact of fuel use, not just the consumption and combustion.

Reducing emissions from importing fuel

Gasoline, for example, let’s us move people and goods around our territory. Electric cars, while a promising technology, can’t yet replace it – low winter temperatures and practical distance limitations on electric batteries are just some of the reasons. Not to mention, commercial electric vehicles are still in the early prototype stages.

Even in communities where hydro fulfills most energy needs, diesel still serves as a crucial fill-in in the wintertime. In many remote areas, it’s the only way of producing electricity. There’s no doubt these fuels are vital to life here. So why do we continue to import them all when we could be reducing our carbon footprint?

Tax revenues and revenue sharing

There’s potential here for a territory independent of transfer payments and federal subsidies. Where’s the security in reliance? And where’s the sustainability in depending on handouts while our economy continues to dip?

Local fuels could mean an added $200 million every year to our Yukon economy. And plans to produce fuels here responsibly, sustainably, and with concrete guarantees for revenue sharing with communities and First Nations could bring even more.

Most of all, local development might mean the freedom for both the territorial government and local governments to invest in a brighter future, channeling potential revenues to education, training, and even renewable energy.

Opportunities for jobs and training

Oil and gas deposits can create energy security and they can create jobs. Projects that seek to extract or refine Yukon oil, gas, or diesel, of any scale, would require workers of every type. Ranging from specialized work that could bring training opportunities to general support activities of all kinds, local development of fuel potential is our chance at seriously boosting Yukon’s employment numbers.

It’s time that Yukoners had improving job prospects to look forward to. A chance for that, especially if it can bring other tangible benefits, should be seriously assessed.

Growing the private sector

A healthy economy makes for security and prosperity on every level. The federal government’s support isn’t going to translate to the sort of growth we need for securing a bright future for all Yukoners. When businesses thrive, more people are able to find good-paying, stable jobs and in turn they can further fuel economic growth. Success in one industry, such as fuel extraction, has real implications for all others. Just look at all the jobs and revenues made by companies involved in supporting mining. Yukon’s deposits of oil and gas could maintain current levels of consumption for at least 300 years.

As we continue to make strides in adopting clean technologies to reduce our need for fossil fuels, we can take full advantage of potential for prosperity so long as these fuels are still irreplaceable. A shift to renewables is essential, and so is thinking pragmatically about demand and sourcing for gas, diesel, and natural gas throughout the transition. When private sector prosperity stands to be gained, we should take note. Opportunities to radically improve our current and future quality of life aren’t unlimited.

Changes need to be made if we have any plan of escaping our reliance on transfer payments, and Yukoners need to start thinking about whether local development of fuel resources could be a solution.

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