Reject oil & gas exploration within the planned Laurentian Channel marine protected area!
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Citing: The Canada Gazette Part I; June 24, 2017
I am writing to urge you to reject proposed government regulations that would allow oil and gas exploration within the planned Laurentian Channel marine protected area. Astoundingly, these regulations would permit such exploration in approximately 80 percent of the marine protected area.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to protect 10 percent of Canada’s coastal waters by 2020. While, this pledge may be a start, a far greater commitment is required to make a meaningful impact. Our waters are over-exploited, polluted and in dire need of action. We do not have room to move backwards or fatally impair these protections. The Gulf of St. Lawrence is the world's largest estuary, home to endangered species such as North Atlantic right whales, beluga whales, Greenland sharks, blue whales and leatherback turtles. These marine species require areas where they can be safe from harm if they are to recover. A recent study in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution concluded that intense acoustic signals used in oil and gas exploration cause significant damage to zooplankton populations that are critical elements of the marine food chain. We also know that underwater noise harms whales and other cetaceans, as they rely on echolocation for hunting, navigating and communicating. To call an area “protected” and then permit oil and gas exploration within the boundaries is like committing to protect the last members of an endangered species and then housing them together with their most dangerous predator. We have seen six endangered North Atlantic right whales die recently, within a matter of weeks. I am shocked that, rather than taking additional steps to protect these cetaceans, the Liberals are proposing to endanger them further by allowing oil and gas exploration in a large portion of the protected area. I find this irresponsible action baffling, and alarming. We have seen the devastation caused by oil and gas incidents in other areas, such as the Deepwater Horizon tragedy on the Gulf of Mexico, and we must protect this area from those everlasting consequences. The counterclockwise currents in the Gulf of St. Lawrence would mean that an incident out there will have effects on not just one, but five provinces. This proposal is a gross violation of the guiding principles and goals that were established when this protected marine area was proposed, including the precautionary approach to ecosystem management. Chiefs of Innu, Mi’kmaq, and Maliseet communities on the Gulf called for a moratorium on oil and gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2014. Additionally, at the 2015 Paris climate talks, Trudeau committed Canada to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 – yet, he now seeks to exploit the estimated 39-trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.5-billion barrels of oil in the Gulf. This proposal is a violation of Indigenous rights, puts marine life at serious risk, and further contributes to climate change.
We strongly encourage you to reject this proposal so that we may proceed with protecting the Gulf and its biodiversity, identifying why we just lost six endangered whales in a matter of weeks, and attempting to reduce our impact on climate change. Thank you, I look forward to your response.
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