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WIN! Supreme Court will hear Clyde River’s challenge of underwater blasting in Arctic

The Supreme Court of Canada announced this morning that they will grant leave to appeal to the Inuit community of Clyde River to challenge the National Energy Board`s approval of a five-year seismic blasting project in waters near the Arctic hamlet.  The seismic blasting is part of oil and gas exploration plans in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.

Council of Canadians supporters have been supporting the community`s campaign for several years now and thousands signed an action alert calling on the NEB and the federal government to cancel the approval.

In a joint press release issued today, Jerry Natanine, former mayor of Clyde River and one of the applicants in the case, said, “We are so grateful that the Supreme Court agreed to hear our case. Everything is on the line for us here — if the seismic blasting goes ahead, our entire way of life could be forever compromised. Our community did not consent to this. Inuit traditional knowledge and modern scientific data both teach us that seismic blasting is harmful for marine mammals. We’re hopeful that the Court will see that this is about our basic rights to eat, to feed our children, and to live our lives the way we always have.”

In a statement released after the decision, Council of Canadians board chair Maude Barlow said “The decision to hear this appeal is an important step forward in convincing Canada to act on its commitment to the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.  The Trudeau government should live up to its election rhetoric and engage with Clyde River without delay. We stand with the people of Clyde River and support their right to protect their lands, waters and wildlife.”

The Supreme Court will hear the case in conjunction with an appeal by the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation challenging the approval without their consent of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline through their territory in Southern Ontario.  

Seismic testing uses air cannons to generate intense sound impulses underwater as often as every 10 seconds. It can cause hearing loss and disrupt migration behaviour of marine animals like narwhals and the fish they feed on. Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait are home to more than 80 per cent of the world’s population of narwhals. The area also has bowhead whales, numerous species of fish and seabirds.

The science on climate change is clear: we can’t burn all of the world’s known oil reserves without destroying the planet. It makes no sense to look for more oil under the fragile Arctic Ocean.

Please click here to send a letter to the Prime Minister and the chair of the National Energy Board now and support the people of Clyde River’s right to protect their lands, waters and wildlife by calling for an immediate moratorium on seismic testing.