Ecojustice Blog – Nature Posted on February 25, 2019 (updated: February 25, 2019)

We’re in court to defend the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Devon PageLawyer
North Atlantic right whale and calf swimming in Atlantic Ocean
Photo via Shutterstock

Ecojustice is in court this week because the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) acted unlawfully when it renewed an exploration licence in 2017. We’re there to ensure this decision is not allowed to stand, so that risky oil drilling is kept out of an area of the Gulf of St. Lawrence known as Old Harry.

Old Harry is an ocean playground for wildlife of all kinds, including seabirds, fish, endangered whales and leatherback sea turtles. Its rough and salty Atlantic waters have sustained local communities for generations.

Despite its environmental importance, and its importance to locals’ livelihoods, a company called Corridor Resources gained an exploratory licence for Old Harry in 2008. But in the following nine-year period, Corridor failed to complete the required environmental assessments and did not receive the necessary regulatory approvals to start drilling for oil.

Under Canadian law, these kinds of licences can only be valid for nine years. But when Corridor’s licence expired in 2017, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) unlawfully renewed it. That’s when Ecojustice became involved.

An oil spill would devastate the Gulf of St. Lawrence’s ecosystem and fishing industry. The region contains many protected areas, including bird sanctuaries and national parks.

Term limits on exploratory licences are there for a reason ⸻ not just to ensure that companies don’t sit on their rights forever, but also to protect the environment from rights-holders who lack the capacity or technology to drill safely. A victory in this case would set an important precedent for other expired or nearly-expired offshore exploration licences, and would keep in check offshore boards that are tempted to consider illegal extensions in future.

But most importantly, it would immediately keep the Gulf safe from the threat of oil drilling. Can we count on your support as we fight to keep oil rigs out of the Gulf?

Build the case for a better earth

Thanks to the support of people like you, Ecojustice goes to court to protect what we value most — the air, land and water that sustains all life. Make your gift today and support bold litigation for a brighter environmental future.

Join our newsletter

Get updates on the most pressing environmental issues delivered straight to your inbox.

Join our online community

Follow us on social media

58K

Likes


32.3K

Followers


3.5K

Followers