The St. Lawrence River has flowed from the Great Lakes to the edge of the land for thousands of years. Carrying all the water from streams and rivers and all the toxins that people have caused along the way, it empties into an estuary to mix with the Atlantic Ocean.
Many clean-up efforts have helped improve the quality of water but the corals and sandy clam beaches and the pod of Beluga whales that inhabit the ocean there continue to suffer. And now the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) chooses to allow oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
More than 2,000 species of marine life live there. Any spill that occurs would move counter-clockwise through the currents circulating damage to the entire Gulf, the world’s largest estuary, affecting tourism, farming and 20,000 jobs in the fishing industry.
“The decision to allow Corridor Resources to proceed with seismic blasting in the Gulf is exceedingly risky,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May. “There is so much concern over these exploratory activities – from scientists, community members, provinces, municipalities. It is a real failure of our environmental assessment process and shows the unfortunate effect of weakening federal environmental laws in Canada.”
Despite nearly 40 years of scientists calling for a moratorium in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, CNLOPB approved a four day seismic survey by Corridor Resources Inc. maintaining that there will be no significant adverse environmental effects. Five Canadian provinces bound the Gulf: Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We have seen that this government is concerned about beluga whale protection with the announcement of the Tarium Niryutait marine protected area, and now concerned citizens on the east coast are saying, don’t forget about the belugas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, they are at even greater risk than those in the Arctic,” said May.
The Green Party of Canada is calling on Prime Minister Harper to place a moratorium on the drilling. The Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition, a collaboration of fishing, tourism and environmental groups, has joined the request and are now asking that the CNLOPB decision be reversed.
“Seismic blasting is known to irreparably damage whales’ ability to migrate, communicate and survive. If the Prime Minister is sincere in protecting endangered whales, he will call for an immediate and permanent moratorium on seismic blasting in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,” said Mary Gorman of The Save our Seas and Shores Coalition.
The oil exploration lease issued to Corridor Resources is expected to begin seismic blasting in the fall of 2011 with drilling by 2012 in one of marine life’s most productive areas.
More than 40 organizations as well as individuals have joined their voices asking for a moratorium on blasting for oil and gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
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