Peel Watershed case returns to Yukon court

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First Nations, environmentalists and the Yukon government were back in court on Thursday to argue the future of the Peel Watershed in Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory. (iStock)
The Peel Watershed controversy is arguably one of the most watched, ongoing environmental stories in Canada.

The Yukon Government wants most of the Peel Watershed opened up to industries like mining. While environmentalists and First Nations want most of the area to be protected.

And the issue has been slowly winding its way through the court system.

A Yukon Court ruled in December the government didn’t respect the process outlined in the territory’s First Nation’s agreements and said they should return to consultations on a final land use plan.

The government appealed and all parties were back in court on Thursday, for two days of hearings.

 To find out more about the Peel Watershed, the controversy and the implications this case could have for First Nations in the rest of Canada, Eye on the Arctic spoke with Gill Cracknell, the executive director of the Yukon Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, during a court break on Thursday:

The Peel Watershed in Yukon, Canada. (ICI Radio-Canada)
The Peel Watershed in Yukon, Canada. (ICI Radio-Canada)

Peel Watershed – Quick Facts

Area: 67,000 km2
Nearby communities: Mayo, Fort McPherson, Dawson and Old Crow
Land: Majority of land is crown owned
Largest private landowners in planning region: Tetlit Gwich’in First Nation
Other First Nations with private lands in region: Na-cho Nyak Dun and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in
Source: Peel Watershed Planning Commission

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic circumpolar news project. At Eye on the Arctic, Eilís has produced documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the circumpolar world. Her documentary Bridging the Divide was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards. Eilís began reporting on the North in 2001. Her work as a reporter in Canada and the United States, and as TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China" has taken her to some of the world’s coldest regions including the Tibetan mountains, Greenland and Alaska; along with the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Norway and Iceland.

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