Sierra Club Applauds Offshore Board’s Rejection of Fracking Lease, Looks for More Protection of Gulf of St. Lawrence

Dec. 13, 2013

Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter applauds the rejection of an application to extend a license for oil and gas exploration on the West Coast of Newfoundland. Shoal Point Energy announced yesterday its applications to extend one of its licenses in area had been rejected by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB).

“This speaks to the level of concern about protecting the region and Gros Morne National Park from the impacts of oil and gas development, “ according to Heidi Verheul, Community Outreach Coordinator the Atlantic Canada Chapter. “We are so pleased to see the offshore board listening to the voices of those in the region and across the country and the world who spoke out on this issue.”

Sierra Club recently held community meetings in the Gros Morne area and met with local volunteer leaders concerned about protecting the Gulf.  Videos of their concerns are available here: www.gulfgarland.org

Sierra Club remains concerned that two leases for 220,000 acres are still valid on Newfoundland’s West Coast, and that the Board continues to look at drilling in the middle of the Gulf, at a site known as Old Harry. Newfoundland has placed a pause on approving fracking projects while it evaluates impacts of hydraulic fracturing, but other drilling methods could be allowed on the West Coast in the meantime.

“A decision to allow drilling on the West Coast or at Old Harry could affect the entire Gulf, including and Gros Morne and endangered species like the blue whale,” according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director of the Atlantic Canada Chapter of Sierra Club “So while we applaud the C-NLOPB’s decision, we want similar consideration given to these other risky projects as well.”

“We are grateful that the C-NLOPB has recognized that there are sensitive marine areas where fracking should not take place,” says Mary Gorman of the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition, “ We are cautiously optimistic that in 2014 the rest of the Gulf will be protected by rejecting an application to drill at Old Harry, located right in the middle of the Gulf.”

Prince Edward Island’s Standing Committees on Agriculture, Environment, Energy, and Forestry and Fisheries, Transportation and Rural Development recommended a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf on November 26th. Chiefs Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador have also formed a coalition to stand together protect the Gulf from the impacts of oil and gas development and indigenous rights in the area.

For more information, please contact:

Gretchen Fitzgerald

Director of the Atlantic Canada Chapter of Sierra Club

902-444-3113 (office)

gretchenf@sierraclub.ca

            

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