Halifax, NS - Sierra Club Canada Foundation and Save Our Seas and Shores (SOSS) are celebrating the protection of the Gulf of St. Lawrence as oil company Corridor Resources announced yesterday it is suspending work on its Old Harry lease in the middle of the Gulf.
"We have pushed for over a decade and even took court action to stop oil and gas drilling at Old Harry in the Gulf," according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director with Sierra Club Canada Foundation. "It is such a huge relief to know this magnificent yet fragile ecosystem will not have to endure oil drilling and that communities of the Gulf will not have to bear the risk of spills - for now. Now we want our provincial and federal governments to work to ensure there is a formal moratorium on all oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf."
Indigenous leaders from communities surrounding the Gulf called for a 12-year moratorium on oil and gas development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2014. Sierra Club Canada Foundation and four other environmental organizations with representation from EcoJustice are currently challenging the re-issuing of a new licence to Corridor after its 9-year expiry date in court, with intervention by the Innu-Maliseet-Mi'kmaq Alliance. In spite of this opposition, and the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground to combat climate change, Corridor states in their June 11 release they want "regulatory relief" and project partners to proceed with seismic surveys.
"Seismic blasting has been identified as a threat that could cause the extinction of the critically endangered right whale. Corridor is stating their next step, if they can proceed, would be seismic blasting - which was carried out in 2010 while blue whales were migrating. It is time to put a stop to this nonsense," states Mary Gorman, Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition, "The governments and any prospective partners Corridor is appealing to now should know what is at stake, and refuse to be part of any action that would further jeopardize whales in the Gulf. "
"Thousands of Canadians have joined with us to stop drilling in the Gulf, scientists have stepped forward to stress the ecological significance of the Gulf, and indigenous communities and elders have repeatedly called for proper consultation and protection of the Gulf from oil and gas. All of this has helped lead to today's announcement that Corridor is suspending its work," according to Fitzgerald, "I hope the message is finally becoming clear: oil and gas development is not welcome in this precious place."
For more information, please contact
Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition