As a growing number of individuals and organizations call for a moratorium on testing and drilling for oil in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Atlantic Canadian environmental groups are calling on the Newfoundland and Canadian governments not to allow an imminent seismic blasting survey. Plans are underway to proceed with seismic blasting off Western Newfoundland in the habitat of the endangered blue whale and other sensitive species. An application from Corridor Resources to conduct a geo-hazard survey is currently before the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board http://www.cnlopb.nl.ca/env_active.shtml.
“Seismic surveys have negative impacts on marine life, but more crucial in this case, is that they are an early step in the oil and gas development cycle. As more and more organizations say no to oil and gas in the Gulf or raise concerns, we respectfully ask that the Government of Newfoundland not issue the requested permit to Corridor Resources,” says Mark Butler of Nova Scotia’s Ecology Action Centre. “Important environmental, legal and jurisdictional issues are triggered by the proposed impacts and location of the blasting, so we’re also asking the federal government to get off the side-lines and protect our Gulf”, Butler added.
A seismic survey involves the blasting of very loud sounds toward the ocean floor with the reflected signal providing oil companies with a picture of the geology up to several kilometers below the ocean floor. The problem is that between the seismic vessel and the ocean floor lies a lot of water which is home to fish, mammals and turtles all of which are extremely sensitive to sound. “We share the concerns raised by DFO in their response to the Corridor environmental assessment about the impact of the survey on the endangered blue whale” says Julie Huntington of the Newfoundland Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “The seismic survey will be taking place in the migration corridor of the blue whales as they leave the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the fall and has the potential to disrupt their migration and distress the whales.”
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For more information contact: Mark Butler, Ecology Action Centre, 902-429-5287/ firstname.lastname@example.org; Julie Huntington, CPAWS-NL, 709 726-5800; or Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club of Canada (Atlantic Chapter) 902-444-3113.