Friday, May 24, 2002 - For immediate release
(Ottawa) The Sierra Club of Canada, Executive Director, Elizabeth May, expressed appreciation to the Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, federal Minister of Natural Resources and the Honourable Gordon D. Balser, Nova Scotia Minister of Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate, for extending the prohibition on any testing for oil and gas in the in-shore coastal areas at Sydney Bight and the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
However, Ms. May expressed concerns about the proposed Ad Hoc Cape Breton Working Group to be established under the Fisheries and Environmental Advisory Committee.
Despite Commissioner Teresa MacNeils clear recommendation as to the nature of such a working group, the CNSOPB appears to be prepared to include Hunt Oil and Corridor Resources on the Ad Hoc Working Group. This is a clear conflict of interest.
The Sierra Club of Canada and many fisheries organizations have long been critical of the Fisheries and Environmental Committee of the CNSOPB and argued at the public hearings that future decision-making should be in the hands of the Federal department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Mark Butler of the Ecology Action Centre, Nova Scotia adds that The DFO submission to Commissioner MacNeil makes it abundantly clear that these waters are as sensitive, diverse and productive as those of Georges Bank. Georges Bank is under fisheries moratorium until 2012, and the federal and provincial governments must be consistent in their actions.