Hundreds Join Protest Against Equinor’s Bay du Nord in St. John’s
For immediate release: Monday, September 18th, 2023
Youth climate demonstrators from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador participated in the Global Climate Strike to End Fossil Fuels. One of their key demands of Fridays For Future St. John’s is an end to the Bay du Nord oil project.
Around 200-250 people came out to the demonstration.
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The project, being proposed by the Norwegian majority state-owned company Equinor, was recently delayed for a period of up to three years. But despite economic uncertainty in relation to the viability of the project, Equinor recently announced further exploration plans off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, scheduled for next year. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to subsidize the oil industry, including providing funding for further exploration offshore, and has not backed down from its 2018 plan to double oil production by 2030
The youth refute the claim that Bay du Nord’s oil would be ‘green,’ as oil and gas lobbyists have argued, saying that the science is clear that no further oil and gas expansion is compatible with meeting climate targets.
Fridays for Future St. John’s points to the wildfires that Canada is struggling to cope with, and which have burned lands comparable to the size of New York state, as indicative of the sort of impacts that will be made worse if projects like Bay du Nord go ahead.
“We’re on the verge of tipping points in which millions of people will die from heat waves, climate scientists are telling us. Furthermore, these impacts are irreversible. Once the planet heats, it will stay that way for a long time,” says Rachel Sutton.
The organizers also say that the Bay du Nord project poses a huge immediate risk to local ecosystems and fisheries in the province given the risk of a spill and the fact that Canadian spill regulations and preparedness are far behind other jurisdictions.
“We have already seen many people on the West Coast of Newfoundland lose their homes [when hurricane Fiona hit the town of Port aux Basques]. Insurance companies are increasingly refusing to cover home damages from extreme weather. Atlantic Canada is expected to be one of the hardest hit jurisdictions in the unfolding climate emergency,” said Sophie Shoemaker.
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