Response to Our Letter to Atlantic Canada's Leaders, Asking for Halt to C-NLOPB's Review of Old Harry

Publication Date: 
May 20, 2011

 

 

NL Natural Resources Minister Commits to Create Stand Alone-Regulator for Safety - But what About the Environment?"

 

Response to our March 28th Letter, which states Sierra Club Atlantic, Ecology Action Centre, and Save Our Seas and Shore Coaliton:

 

"do not recognize the authority of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) to assess and approve oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

 

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is too precious to be placed at risk by oil and gas development.  It is a unique, semi-enclosed ecosystem, home to thousands of species, including endangered fish, marine mammals, and migratory birds. Bounded by five provinces, the Gulf supports massive income from fishing and tourism industries.  Damage caused by a catastrophic spill in the region would impact all provinces around the Gulf. Cumulative impacts from habitat disruption, smaller spills, release of produced water, and drilling muds in addition to increased shipping traffic and potential pipelines will impact the entire region, not just NL waters. "

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Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Department of Natural Resources

Office of the Minister

 

P.O. Box 8700

St. John's, NL

Canada A1B 4J6 

t709.729.2920

f 709.729.0059

 

 

Ms. Gretchen Fitzgerald

Director

Sierra Club Canada- Atlantic Chapter

1657 Barrington St., Suite 533

Halifax, NS B3J 2A1

gretchenf@sierraclub.ca

 

Dear Ms. Fitzgerald:

 

May 20, 2011

 

Re: Corridor Resources Inc. Exploration Well at the Old Harry Prospect

 

Thank you for your letter of March 28, 2011, to Premier Kathy Dunderdale outlining your opposition to Corridor Resources Inc.'s proposal to drill an exploration well at the Old Harry prospect in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Premier has asked that I respond on her behalf.

 

In this province, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) has jurisdiction over our offshore exploration and development, and reviews proposals for all physical activities offshore to identify their potential effects upon the natural environment, including an evaluation of proposed measures to prevent or mitigate these effects. Prior to issuing an Exploration License at the Old Harry prospect, the C-NLOPB conducted and reviewed all the appropriate environmental assessment procedures and identified no significant adverse environmental effects, including cumulative effects that will o.ccur as a result of the geohazard survey activity.

 

With respect to Phase 1 of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry (Wells Inquiry), our government is supportive of all 29 of Commissioner Wells' recommendations, including the recommendation to establish an independent, stand-alone safety regulator. We are currently working with the federal government to explore options to implement this recommendation.

 

Our government is confident in the regulatory oversight provided by the C-NLOPB and considers environmental protection paramount in our offshore area. Thank you for your interest in this issue.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

SHAWN SKINNER

Minister

 

c. Premier Kathy Dunderdale

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