COALITION URGES EXPANDING BAN ON OIL AND GAS IN ST. LAWRENCE RIVER TO PROTECT ENTIRE GULF
Halifax, NS- A coalition of groups from the Atlantic provinces in Canada is calling on all Atlantic Canadian Premier's to put in place similar legislation in their Provinces, to permanently ban oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of St Lawrence.
In May 2011 the government of Québec introduced Bill 18 titled an act to limit oil and gas activities. This one page act legislates that no further oil and gas permits or exploration can ever be issued for the St Lawrence River east of Anticosti Island and that all existing permits are cancelled, and no compensation for cancelled or existing permits will be given by the government of Québec.
Mary Gorman, a spokesperson for the Coalition says, "This is the ultimate step that Québec is taking and all other Atlantic provinces should immediately follow Québec's lead in this matter."
Gretchen Fitzgerald of Sierra Club says “The Gulf of St Lawrence is one of the most precious ecosystems on earth – Quebecker have protected the river that feeds it: now we need to do our part. Over 2,000 marine species spawn, nurse and migrate year around in this vulnerable body of water. This creates one and a half billion dollars in fisheries exports annually along in addition to major renewable tourism revenues. Now is the time for Atlantic Canadian Premier's to follow Québec's lead and put in place legislation that will permanently protect the Gulf of St Lawrence".
On April 30, 2011 Dr David Suzuki visited the Magdalen Islands to announce "The Declaration of the Defenders of the Gulf". The Suzuki foundation has adopted a campaign in recent months to support the adoption by Eastern Canadian provinces of a permanent moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of St Lawrence.
Neal Livingston, co-chair of the Margaree Environmental Association said, "It is of the utmost importance that the Premier of Nova Scotia Daryl Dexter wake-up to the fact that if Georges Bank can have protection from oil and gas exploration and development that is essential to have legislation to permanently protect the Gulf of St Lawrence as Nova Scotia has jurisdiction in the southern Gulf". Livingston called on the Premier of Nova Scotia to, " Put in place legislation similar to Québec's, and to place a moratorium immediately on the issuing of any permits and to annul any existing permits."
Mark Butler, Policy Director of Ecology Action Centre said, “There is no reason to delay anymore on this mater of protecting one of the worlds most productive marine ecosystems. What are we waiting for?”
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For more information contact:
Mary Gorman, Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition - 902-926-2128
Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director, Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter - 902-444-3113
Neal Livingston, Co-Chair, Margaree Environmental Association 902-258-3354, 902-456-2004
Mark Butler, Policy Director, Ecology Action Centre, 902-429-5287