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Council of Canadians supports Clyde River, key court ruling expected in June

Clyde River, Nunavut.

Clyde River, Nunavut.

The Arctic Journal reports, “It began with the Council of Canadians, a prestigious social action group, when it, in a January 16 blog post, announced it was standing with the Nunavut hamlet in favour of moratorium on seismic testing in Baffin Bay.”

And just two days ago, Nunatsiaq reported, “The Council of Canadians — a prominent social action group — issued an online petition Jan. 16. The petition calls on its supporters to send letters opposing the testing to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Peter Watson, chair of the National Energy Board. …[The issue is that] the NEB [has] approved a five-year seismic testing proposal from a group of Norwegian companies in June 2014, despite fierce opposition from people in Clyde River, Pond Inlet, Qikitarjuaq and Arctic Bay.”

The Arctic Journal adds, “Clyde River fears the testing – which involves blasting loud bursts of noise through the water in order to detect whether there is oil or gas beneath the ocean floor – is harmful to the narwhals and other marine mammals coastal communities hunt for food. Should plans to conduct seismic testing this summer turn back positive results, it would be the first step in a process that could eventually lead to oil drilling. The Council of Canadians, according to Mark Calzavara, its regional organiser for Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut, has been active in the Arctic for 30 years. The past four years it has sought to stop oil drilling.”

Calzavara says, “We support the people of Clyde River in their effort to prevent seismic testing, but on a wider note, we’re against the industrial exploitation of the Arctic.” And I’ve said, “Today we stand with the people of Clyde River and support their right to protect their lands, waters and wildlife.”

The article highlights, “[Clyde River and Greenpeace Canada] have lodged a challenge with the federal courts to overturn the decision [of the NEB]. The challenge argues that the NEB did not properly consult with coastal communities about the potential impact of testing. …Practically, [the testing] cannot take place until weather conditions permit. That will most likely be July. On Tuesday, in order to ensure that the challenge was cleared up before testing began, the Federal Appeals Court said it would expedite the hearing. It is now likely to be held in April and a decision, say those involved, will most likely be handed down in June.”

Other groups that back the demand for a ban on seismic testing include the Youth Arctic Coalition and Sum of Us.

To send a letter to the prime minister and the chairperson on this issue via a Council of Canadians action alert, please click here. To read our blog – Council stands with Clyde River for a moratorium on seismic testing in the Arctic Ocean – please click here.