Prince Edward Islanders attend Oil and Gas Forum on Magdalene Islands – April 2011

By Irene Novaczek
Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition

A small group of Prince Edward Islanders, ventured to the Magdalene Islands to join other concerned citizens at a forum to explore the costs and benefits of drilling a deep oil well, in the area dubbed “Old Harry”, in the Laurentian Trench between the Maggies and western Nfld. Corridor Resources owns the exploration permit and they want to proceed through a screening level environmental assessment and drill as soon as possible (2012 – 2014). After hearing of the risks and meager to non-existent benefits for rural coastal communities who will be affected by the pollution that accompanies such activities, the forum participants called for the full panel review of the project, as well as a strategic environmental assessment to consider the wider implications. However, even before going this route it is clear to many of us that the existing framework for decision-making is gravely flawed. Therefore, we first need a moratorium on all further exploration in the gulf, to give time for research, reflection and extensive public consultation leading to the reform of the petroleum board and environmental assessment systems.

[Check out the link to the forum to view various presentations given by scientists, oil industry etc.]

Small boat harbour, Magdalene Islands (Credit: Irene Novaczek) Heading into the village of Old Harry – the nearest Magdalene landfall to the proposed oil field. (Credit: Irene Novaczek) Old Harry Beach (Credit: Irene Novaczek)
View from the youth hostel (Credit: Irene Novaczek) Supporters arriving to demonstrate outside forum. Nice and noisy! (Credit: Irene Novaczek) Random notes to self (Credit: Irene Novaczek)
Lots of media covering the event, including independent media. (Credit: Irene Novaczek) Line-ups at the mike clearly showed the depth of concern and by times, anger and disgust in the room. Here are folk lined up for the 10 minute question period with Corridor, after listening politely to their 50 minutes of “how to drill an oil well”, promises and reassurances… Perhaps one third of those who immediately sprang to the mike managed to get a question answered. (Credit: Irene Novaczek) Fishing coop (Credit: Irene Novaczek)
From the perspective of bureaucrats in St Johns and Ottawa, our inshore fleets look mighty small and insignificant. But they are in fact the basis for coastal cultures, regional cuisines and tourism, among other values. (Credit: Irene Novaczek) Marilyn Clark was born in Old Harry. The only reason anyone outside of Nfld now knows about plans to drill in the Gulf is that she’s a student at Memorial and her eye was drawn to the press release about the project because they used the name of her village as the name of the oil field. (Credit: Irene Novaczek) Crab pots – lots of crab in the Old harry prospect area (Credit: Irene Novaczek)