Our court date has now been set.
We are taking a stand for the Gulf and for Whales! If you have ever felt like you’re invisible, then you’ll know what it’s like to deal with the offshore petroleum board for Newfoundland and Labrador.I just read a press release from Corridor Resources stating that in the next few days it has every intention to begin exploration for oil and gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in spite of the fact that Sierra Club and four other groups are challenging the validity of its license in the Gulf. It is alarming that Corridor is proceeding even though the Court may determine that it no longer has a valid stake in the region.Experts tell me that while planned electromagnetic testing is less damaging to whales than seismic testing, little is known about its impacts. We can only hope that most of the endangered right whales have migrated and made it out of the Gulf by now. Corridor’s release goes on to say that it plans to support the offshore board’s decision to question the “standing” of Sierra Club and the four other groups who are part of this court case because we are “not persons aggrieved by the issuance” of its license.I can tell you that we have stood for the Gulf and the creatures that live there for a very long time. As I pointed out in my affidavit filed with the court, we have been a voice for the Gulf since 1999, and that our founding Executive Director, Elizabeth May, was so effective that she was appointed to a multi-stakeholder Working Group to evaluate the risks of oil and gas to the region – and in particular the waters off Cape Breton, which at the time were threatened by seismic blasting.Our blue whale campaign is dedicated to protecting whales in the Gulf. Our members participated in a Water Ceremony hosted by the Mi’qmawei Mawiomi celebrating the sacred waters of the Gulf in 2015, and thousands of letters have gone from supporters like you to decision-makers to stop this license and protect the Gulf. We have participated in the environmental assessment related to Corridor’s Old Harry processes and objected strenuously to its renewal earlier this year.The tactic of questioning our “standing” will cost court time, potentially including cross-examinations of us and our co-applicants. This will make the whole procedure more costly for us and for the court system.It’s doubly aggravating to have this tactic used by the offshore board, which is tasked with engaging in public consultations regarding oil and gas projects.We’ll have to get ready to prepare for court to speak as strongly as we can for the Gulf and our magnificent whales. In spite of my nerves, I would not mind having the opportunity to say why Sierra Club should count! If it comes to that, I will bravely speak on your behalf and on behalf of the marine life who call the Gulf their home (time for a new, visible suit, I think!)Meanwhile, Corridor has been given leave to continue business as usual.Our day in court is set for Dec 13-15th. Stay tuned. While the NL offshore board and the oil industry may feel we should not be recognized, we are determined to speak up, now more than ever.Gretchen FitzgeraldNational Program Director