FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2018
Dakwäkäda (Haines Junction, Yukon) – Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) is urging the Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC) to honour the Aishihik Power Generation License Renewal Co-Management Protocol Agreement the Parties jointly signed in 2016.
While the Parties aimed to reach consensus on the proposed approach for future operation of the dam, this September YEC abruptly notified CAFN it was moving forward on its own with a proposal to regulators to continue to operate the dam as it has in the past.
YEC’s ‘business as usual’ approach to operating the dam does not take into account the key issues and ongoing impacts of the dam that have been brought forward by CAFN and its Citizens. The move also disregards several objectives that were outlined in the Protocol Agreement.
In consideration of traditional knowledge, the incomplete technical data collected and input and direction from its Elders and Citizens, CAFN preferred an operating option that would restore the lake closer to natural levels and in accordance with CAFN traditional knowledge to ‘let the lake rest.’ In contrast, YEC’s stated plan to move forward with a ‘business as usual’ operating approach will aggravate existing adverse conditions and effects on the land, animals and CAFN dän (people).
“The story of the Aishihik dam is one of hardship with a legacy of past wrongs and ongoing negative impacts,” stated Dän nätthe äda Kaaxnox (Chief Steve Smith). “We have an opportunity to address these impacts and work together toward a better future. We believe recognition of our rights and the value of our relationship to the land are essential.”
In a letter sent to Yukon Energy Corporation President Andrew Hall in October, CAFN urged YEC to reconsider its decision to abandon the Protocol Agreement and extended an opportunity to get the collaborative relationship back on track through the negotiation of a Co-Management Agreement founded on respecting the overarching direction provided by the CAFN community to take the pressure off the Aishihik watershed.