Caribou - Endangered
Local residents and aboriginal groups are being given a chance to ask questions and comment on an oilsands expansion north of Fort McMurray. Sign up as an interested party and have your voice heard! You will receive updates on the review process and can provide written submissions detailing your concerns about yet another open pit tar sands mine.
Energy giant Shell Canada Energy plans to increase bitumen production at the Jackpine Mine site by 100,000 bpd, bringing mining production to a total of 300,000 bpd.
The expansion would include space for new mining and processing facilities along the east side of the Athabasca River, approximately 70 km north of Fort McMurray.
Interested individuals and groups are now invited to provide comments and questions to a joint review panel in Ottawa. The panel, which was created to assess the environmental effects of the proposed project, must receive all comments in writing by Aug. 3, in order to be considered. All comments received by the panel will be considered public and will be posted online.
Comments, both in French or English, can be sent by mail, email or fax to:
Joint Review Panel Secretariat
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor, Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3... Read more »
As Canadians we understand the need to protect wild spaces and the creatures that reside within them. The United States is considering opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development. Canadians, and particularly Prime Minister Stephen Harper, must ensure that Americans are aware that we implore them to permanently protect the Refuge, and not allow oil and gas interests to make them blind to its beauty and importance to native culture.
What’s at stake?
The Porcupine caribou herd is a herd of 130,000 barren ground caribou. The herd derives its unusual name from its twice annual crossing of the Porcupine River during its fall and spring migrations. The herd's annual migration from its winter range in the boreal forest of Alaska, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories to the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest migration of any land animal on earth. The coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is the core calving area for the herd. It is the place where pregnant females give birth to 40,000 calves each June. For many reasons, wildlife biologists call this place a "critical habitat" for the herd. For the Gwich'in of the Arctic it is simpler than that: the calving grounds are a sacred place.
The Gwich'in are caribou people. They have lived in the north and depended on the caribou for more than 20,000 years. Caribou are at the very heart of Gwich'in culture. As Gwich'in activist and Caribou Commons Project speaker Norma Kassi says, "The relationship between the Gwich'in and the caribou is not one of convenience; it is one of necessity. A healthy Porcupine caribou herd is necessary for the continued survival of Gwich'in culture"
The issue of oil and gas development in the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd is one of the most important conservation issues in the world today. For the Gwich'in, it is a human rights issue that goes to the very heart of their culture. For humanity, it is a matter of protecting an ancient way of life and a pristine ecosystem America’s last great wilderness.
What can you do?
1. Hold a screening of the documentary Being Caribou.
2. Read more about the campaign at the Caribou Commons
3. Do you know any Americans? Are you a dual citizen? Check out the www.ArcticRefugeAction.org to find out how to write senators and representatives, urging them to defeat a budget bill that would allow arctic drilling. Using their online tool, write a Letter to the Editor as an American, or dual citizen, or concerned Canadian!
Tony Bock / Toronto Star
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