Mary Gorman of the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition (SOSS), speaks passionately for protecting the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Pa’qtnkek Water Ceremony with Ethan Hawke, October 26, 2015.
(OTTAWA) January 22, 2016 – Elizabeth May is standing alongside local community leaders to denounce the decision of provincial and federal regulators to give Corridor Resources Inc. a free pass for the third time at the Old Harry site, a proposed deep water oil well in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
“This is a shocking decision,” stated the Green Party Leader. “Putting thousands of livelihoods and our environment at risk by continuing to explore for oil and natural gas in this critical ecosystem is unacceptable. To compound the problem by not even requiring them to pay their fee, that is really outrageous.”
Community groups have long been calling for a full moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Corridor Resources Inc. had until Friday, January 22 to pay a $1-million deposit to extend their licence, but provincial and federal regulators agreed to waive that fee earlier this week – the third time this has happened. The local fishing industry is worth in excess of $1.5 billion, and tourism along the Gulf directly employs tens of thousands of people across multiple provinces.
“This is a free pass to the oil and gas industry, and a slap in the face to fishermen, Aboriginal communities, and the local tourism industry, which all rely on the health of the Gulf of St. Lawrence,” concluded May. “This licence should never have been extended, much less for free.”
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The Canadian Press
Jan 15, 2016 2:05 pm EST
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Environmental activists who want a drilling moratorium in the Gulf of St. Lawrence weren’t impressed Friday as regulators extended an oil exploration licence for the Old Harry site by another year.
Corridor Resources Inc. (TSX-CDH) of Halifax had until Friday to offer a $1 million deposit to extend the licence until next January.
The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board announced the province and Ottawa agreed to waive the fee. Federal and provincial Natural Resources ministers ratified the move “in consideration of regulatory factors that have resulted in … delays in drilling a validation well in the final year of (Corridor’s) nine-year licence term,” the board said in a news release.
Spokesman Sean Kelly said no one was available for further comment.
Corridor Resources President and CEO Steve Moran referred all questions to the offshore petroleum board.
“It’s awful,” said Sylvain Archambault of the St. Lawrence Coalition, one of several environmental and indigenous groups across Canada that have called for a drilling moratorium in the Gulf.
“This is the third time they’ve obtained such a free pass.”
In its news release, the offshore board said it will soon announce plans for consultations with aboriginal groups and the public on related environmental assessments. Such regulatory requirements must be complete before any drilling goes ahead, Kelly confirmed in an email.
The federal government has estimated the Gulf and surrounding areas potentially hold 39 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.5 billion barrels of oil.
Indigenous groups and environmental activists have urged a moratorium in the Gulf pending a scientific review of risks. They also want to see collective management strategies involving the five adjacent provinces — Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Drilling would be close to the shore of any province,” Archambault said Friday in an interview. The Old Harry site is about 80 kilometres west of Newfoundland. One theory is that it was named for a community on the nearby Magdalen Islands.
“Scientific spill scenarios clearly show that the west coast of Newfoundland would be impacted as well as Cape Breton and the Magdalen Islands,” Archambault said.
“In the Gulf there are fisheries worth over $1.5 billion. There’s tourism, communities living all around the Gulf. We really don’t want the same scenario that happened in the Gulf of Mexico to repeat itself here.”
The Deepwater Horizon explosion April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 rig workers. An estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil spewed into the water before engineers could cap the blown-out well 87 days later.
“And the Old Harry drilling site would be smack in the middle of the Laurentian Channel which is the highway used by all the migrating species — whales, salmon, cod,” Archambault said. “Anything happening there would be disastrous.”
Source: 680 News