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Farley Mowat opposes Old Harry Prospect

The Globe and Mail reports that 92-year-old Farley Mowat is against a proposal to put an offshore oil and gas well – known as the Old Harry Prospect – in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The newspaper explains, “The Old Harry is a 30-kilometre stretch of the Laurentian Channel off the southwest coast of Newfoundland that could be the largest untapped oil and gas reserve in Eastern Canada. Corridor Resources, a Canadian oil and natural gas company, has held licences to assess its potential since 1996, and wants to drill an exploratory well by 2014.”

“Mary Gorman and her Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition (conscripted Mowat into this fight and) have been challenging the project with everything they can muster, arguing that a spill in the Gulf of St. Lawrence could cause a disaster on a scale even larger than the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010 that killed 11 people and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. Mr. Mowat and his wife summered near the Old Harry Prospect for several years, so when Ms. Gorman called for help three years ago, ‘I consulted myself and decided I owed something physically to that region’, he said. His environmental foundation donated some money to the cause. And he lent his own voice in opposition.”

In the article, Mowat is quoted saying, “We don’t need any more oil than we’ve got. We’re up to our ass in oil of one type or another – fracking and bracking and all the rest of it – and freight cars full of it coming down on little Quebec towns.”

Mr. Mowat was a founding member of the Council of Canadians. We have also been opposing oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for several years now:

– On November 17, 2010, we joined the call from Save Our Seas and Shores, Attention Fragile (Magdalen Islands), Sierra Club Atlantic, and the Ecology Action Centre, for a moratorium on oil and gas development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

– On March 28, 2011, vice-chairperson Leo Broderick wrote the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board expressing concern that Corridor Resources could be granted a permit to drill an exploration well. Broderick wrote, “The Council of Canadians is requesting that you stop this project. We ask that you declare a moratorium on oil drilling inside the Gulf.”

– On April 7, 2011, “Atlantic Council of Canadians chapter delegates, gathered in Tatamagouche, united in concern with the proposed drilling in the ‘Old Harry’ area of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. (They said) the lack of public consultation and the information void around the proposed drilling has created more questions than answers.”

– On March 1, 2012, energy campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue wrote, “We support the call for a moratorium on all projects and requests for permits for offshore drilling in the Gulf of St Lawrence. Unlike Environment Minister Peter Kent, we believe an open, democratic process will allow Atlantic Canadians to have their voices heard, leading to right decision – no offshore drilling.”

– On September 11, 2012, CBC reported, “About 50 people from environmental groups, labour unions and the Council of Canadians staged a silent march in protest of oil and gas development and called for a moratorium on oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (during a) federal and provincial energy ministers (meeting) in Charlottetown, P.E.I.”

– On October 11, 2012, Atlantic organizer Angela Giles spoke at a media conference in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The Cape Breton Post reported, “The coalition of groups (Save Our Seas and Shores, the Sierra Club Atlantic, and Council of Canadians) said it is calling on the federal government to get rid of unelected provincial petroleum boards and to reinstate federal marine protection in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.”

– On February 27, 2013, we noted in a campaign blog that the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board had terminated public consultations on oil drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

For campaign blogs opposed to oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, please see http://canadians.org/search/node/%22old%20harry%22%20type%3Ablog.