Wednesday, 25 April 2012

New Brunswick left out of maritime environmental impact assessment

NORRIS POINT, NEWFOUNDLAND - The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNOPB) is undertaking a stategic environmental impact assessment to examine the risks of oil and gas developlment in its region  of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and is planning public consultations which will likely be held in the summer of 2012 in all Gulf provinces, except New Brunswick. Quebec is finalizing its own strategic environmental assessment of oil and gas development in its region of the Gulf, which could lead to a lifting of its current moratorium.

"It is inexplicable why New Brunswick has been left out of the public consultations considering fish swim and oil slicks drift," siad David Coon, Executive Director of CCNB.  "New Brunswick fishermen depend on fish stocks which spend part of the year in the middle of the Gulf and oil spills in the Newfoundand can reach our shores.  Most of our Atlantic salmon migrate right through the region called Old Harry, which is currently scheduled for exploratory drilling," said Coon.

The St. Lawrence Coalion is encouraging people to participate in the consulations this summer to have a say in the future of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but says most people are currently unaware of the issue.

"CCNB would like to see our provincial government write the CNOPB to request that they hold a consultation meeting in New Brunswick," said Coon.  It is essential that the communities of the Acadian peninsual and the Chaleur region have an opportunity to express their views on oil and gas development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence." 

The St. Lawrence Coalition consists of more  than 3500 individual members, 80 organizations and First Nations from the five Gulf provinces.  The Coalition is want a moratorium on exploration for fossil fuels in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.