Today, people gathered outside of the Federal Court of Appeals in Toronto in support of the hamlet of Clyde River, Nunavut who are asking the court to prevent seismic testing from happening in their traditional hunting areas off the coast of Baffin Island. The 900-person hamlet is up against the National Energy Board and several multinational corporations who are looking for oil and gas deposits under the seabed. Communities in the area are concerned about how testing would affect the seals, narwhal, and fish that are staples of their traditional diet.
Seismic testing uses air guns to blast the water every 15 seconds 24 hours a day and can severely impact the hearing and migration patterns of marine mammals and even cause death.
Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait are home to 80% of the world’s narwhal population along with significant numbers of seals and other marine mammals.
The people of Clyde River and their lawyer Nader Hasan are asking the Federal Court of Appeal to overturn the NEB’s decision and to ensure that any future exploration is subject to rigorous environmental assessment and respects the fundamental rights of Inuit people, including to free, prior and informed consent.
At today’s event, arctic char, seal and beluga blubber were served to supporters and Clyde River Mayor Jerry Natanine thanked the crowd for coming out.
As it stands, seismic testing could begin as soon as the winter ice melts.
The Council of Canadians stands with Clyde River and calls upon the federal government to overturn the NEB’s decision and ensure that oil and gas exploration does not proceed in the Arctic.
To send a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and National Energy Board chair Peter Watson urging them to overturn the decision, please click here.