We Won! — A Legal Battle to Protect Endangered Right Whales & Their Habitat
By Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Sometimes a weight has pressed on you so long you forget what it felt like before it got there. This week, we announced a landmark legal decision in our favour.
The battle to stop the licence to drill in the Gulf of St. Lawrence feels that way – after all, the Old Harry licence in the middle of the Gulf was issued way back in 2008 – that’s twelve years ago! I’ve moved twice, gotten married, and had a child who is now five years old – but STILL the threat continued.
Well, the pressure has finally lifted – a huge relief for whales and other creatures who make the Gulf their home.
As you know, we have already lost a precious right whale calf this summer – one of two calves lost this year.
Seismic blasting, noise pollution, and spills from oil drilling would have pushed this critically endangered population over the brink to extinction. And for now, we’ve stopped these threats in the Gulf. (As a reminder, we are currently in the early stages of another legal challenge to protect the offshore, and I will be keeping you up-to-date on this developing case.)
I am so grateful for our wise and determined counsel from EcoJustice and our stalwart allies in this battle to protect the Gulf : SNAP-Quebec, Attention FragÎles, Nature Quebec, and Fondation David Suzuki. For the Innu, Mi’kmaq, and Maliseet leaders and elders who fought with us for the Gulf – and have long called for a moratorium there.
I thank the fearless leadership of Save Our Seas and Shores advocate Mary Gorman, and the members of SOSS-PEI, who never wavered and continued to push for the protection of the Gulf, even as the years ticked by.
And I thank you who have written in, spoken out, donated to our legal challenge, and shared the message that we need to do better for endangered whales and for our precious Gulf.
Although I was fortunate to escape the direct impacts of COVID on my family, everything feels different and changed these days. A veil of anxiety often fogs my mind – I’m sure it’s the same for many of you.
But today, this light gets through. A weight has been lifted.