• Groups and First Nations in five provinces demand a stop oil and gas activities in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

    Oceans’ Week starts with call for Gulf-wide moratorium and arms-length review panel

    Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada, June 9, 2014
    – Fishermen, environmentalists, First Nations, and others kicked off International Oceans’ Week with a demand to the federal, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick and Quebec governments to immediately place a moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration and development in the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence. They followed up with a call for an independent Gulf-wide review panel with thorough public consultations on whether offshore oil and gas activities should ever be allowed to proceed in the Gulf.

    “Since time immemorial, the waters and shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence have been used and occupied by the Innu to the north and the Mi'gmaq to the south, for purposes including fishing, hunting, and travel. Because of these facts, we have rights that are recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and that the federal and provincial governments are obliged to consult and accommodate us in order to avoid any irreparable harm to the exercise of our rights” declared Troy Jerome on behalf of the Innu-Mi'gmaq Alliance for the Protection of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

    “Today, the St. Lawrence Coalition is publishing a report on the issue of oil and gas development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which highlights the fact that the conditions are not in place to allow such activities in this precious and fragile ecosystem. Consequently, a Gulf-wide moratorium seems essential” added Jean-Patrick Toussaint from the St. Lawrence Coalition. “The Gulf is one of the last standing places on earth where no offshore oil/gas activities are underway. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to protect this beautiful ecosystem and try to restore its ecological integrity” concluded Toussaint.

    The Gulf of St. Lawrence shores draw millions of visitors a year to the pristine beaches of Prince Edward Island National Park and that of the Magdalen Islands; the majestic vistas of Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail; iconic symbols like Rocher Percé in Gaspé, and the spectacular fjords of western Newfoundland. Fisheries like lobster, eel, and snow crab support thousands of families in all five provinces. Endangered blue whales, bluefin tuna, belugas, the remaining northern cod and many other valued species feed, spawn, mate, and rear young in the waters of the Gulf. All could be at risk from oil and gas exploration and exploitation.

    “As recently reported in the May issue of National Geographic, the Gulf is still a bountiful, diverse ecosystem, teeming with life. It could remain so if only we took the time and effort to better understand its complexities, and see it as a whole instead of artificially dividing it into provincial jurisdictions” said Ellie Reddin from the PEI Chapter of Save Our Seas and Shores. “The offshore oil industry already has access to 85% of Canada’s east coast waters. Enough is enough. We must declare a Gulf-wide moratorium on oil and gas activities" concluded Reddin.

    “Marine resources have been under various pressures, such as industrial pollution, acidification, hypoxia and climate change over the past decades. Our fishing efforts have been greatly affected and we have been forced to adapt to this reality. Fishermen and fishing associations have made tremendous efforts to sustain this renewable resource and therefore we are saying no to opening the gulf to the oil/gas industry, which would undoubtedly add yet another pressure to this sensitive ecosystem” said Greg Egilsson, Chairman of the Gulf Nova Scotia Herring Federation.

    The groups also insist that a review panel and thorough public consultations on this important issue be held across the five provinces to consult with the communities and First Nations about the future of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

    “Every year, thousands of residents and visitors to the surrounding communities spend over one billion dollars on recreational and tourism activities focused on the natural and cultural heritage of the Gulf and its scenic shores. Are we willing to risk such national treasures for unproven revenues that aren’t sustainable? That is why it is of utmost importance to us that all communities around the Gulf be consulted on what is a stake here…their future” said John Jacobs from Nature Newfoundland and Labrador.

    “We must keep in mind that the proposed oil exploration in the Gulf is not happening in a vacuum” commented Matthew Abbott, Marine Program Coordinator with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “Canada’s Atlantic coastal waters already face significant stress from climate change, especially due to temperature increases and ocean acidification not to mention existing tanker traffic, offshore drilling in other areas, and a host of other threats. In order to foster resilient ecosystems and maintain critical habitats it is essential that relatively intact regions like the Gulf be left to flourish” concluded Abbott.

    The groups are also calling into action communities and citizens from all around the Gulf Provinces and across Canada to ask the federal and provincial governments to establish a Gulf-wide moratorium on oil and gas activities, as well as an independent, arms-length review panel on this issue.

    Sign up onto the call to action at:http://action2.davidsuzuki.org/gulf

    Download the St. Lawrence Coalition report at: http://bit.ly/1nT5eMT

  • Conservons notre N
    Pendant des générations, les Néo-Brunswickois ont établi des traditions profondément ancrées et des communautés fortes qui prospèrent parmi les rivières, les forêts, les lacs et créatures vivantes qui composent notre belle province. Aidez à protéger les milieux naturels et sauvages que vous aimez afin que votre famille, vos enfants et vos petits-enfants puissent en profiter pour toujours.

    Plus de 95 % du Nouveau-Brunswick n'est actuellement pas protégé et nous devons agir maintenant pour changer cela.

    Le Canada s’est engagé à conserver 17 % des terres et des eaux douces d'ici 2020 lors de l’Union internationale. En tant que canadiens, nous avons la responsabilité partagée de tenir le gouvernement responsable de l'atteinte de cet objectif.
  • For the small community of Stoney Creek, oil drilling has been part of rural life for over 100 years. When water tests revealed methane, diesel and barium in a resident’s well water, local community members were not surprised. Many residents get their drinking water from uncontaminated springs or bottled water. However, interest is rising around the contamination, especially after NDP leader Dominic Cardy called for a moratorium on drilling in Stoney Creek, in response to the test results. The findings of laboratory technicians, who were able to light the water on fire, is consistent with community members’ stories about lighting matches at the faucet.

    The story of Stoney Creek is emerging just before New Brunswick Day celebrations around the importance of clean air, land and water. Citizens are coming together in Fredericton on August 6 for a series of events. Click here for more information and to see the full schedule.

  • Nashwaak Watershed Association Press Release For Immediate Release August 19, 2014

    Ombudsman vindicates Nashwaak Watershed Association’s claims of government inaction on Water Classification program

    Ombudsman concludes the Water Classification Regulation 2002-13, of the Clean Water Act “exists primarily as a mirage”

    Fredericton -Today, the Nashwaak Watershed Association (NWAI) responded to the“Report of the Ombudsman into the Department of Environment’s Management of the Provincial Water Classification Program”,released on Friday, August 15thby Ombudsman Charles Murray.

    “We are both saddened and encouraged by the Ombudsman’s findings,” says Paul McLaughlin, President of the Nashwaak Watershed Association.

    “Saddened because for more than ten years now, we have been working, largely as volunteers and in good faith with the Department of Environment, to see enacted the protections afforded under theClean Water Act, and we have been stalled in our efforts by the inaction, indecision and neglect by our provincial government.”

    McLaughlin, speaking on behalf of the community-based watershed association, said “we are however, also heartened by the fact that the Ombudsman’s report is an unequivocal validation of our concerns and attempts to move the program forward over the intervening years”.

    The Report makes strong statements about the inaction of successive governments in proceeding with water classification and about their assertions that the legislation is unenforceable: “The suggestion that there continues to be unaddressed issues about the legality of Regulation 2002-13 12 years after its coming into force strains credulity.”

    The NWAI has long asserted that the delays in implementing the program have left New Brunswick’s water effectively without protection. This point too is clearly reflected in the report, “… Regulation 2002-13’s complete ineffectiveness is in some respects worse than having no regulation at all. Like a smoke detector without batteries, it provides no protection …”

    The Association has also charged that the Department of the Environment’s claim they are working to amend the legislation is simply foot dragging, and this point has not escaped comment by the Ombudsman: “… the Department indicated that it planned to have a new Regulation in place by 2016. With respect, we considered that timeline to be so distant as to amount to little more than aspirational thinking.”

    Stephanie Merrill, Freshwater Program Director for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, who supported NWAI’s complaint to the Ombudsman, echoes McLaughlin.

    “We have been trying to highlight the rollbacks and facade of water protections in New Brunswick in recent years and this report helps big-time,” said Merrill “it feels like a victory after years of frustration.”

    “We are proud to work with and support NWAI in this effort. NWAI has stepped up to defend their river and their years of work”, says Merrill. “We hope that the Report has rippling affects across all watersheds and rivers in New Brunswick with outstanding applications to be classified such as the Meduxnekeag, the Kennebacasis, the Richibucto, the Miramichi, and 14 others,” she continued.

    McLaughlin and Merrill are both looking forward to meeting with the Department to hear their detailed plan to address the ineffectiveness of this program, as recommended by the Ombudsman.

    The NWAI will continue to work with government and other stakeholders towards the implementation of an effective water classification system. NWAI sees the upcoming provincial election as an opportunity to press political candidates for their positions on this issue and hopes to encourage all who plan to vote to do the same.

    Background: Water classification timeline

    2002 – Water Classification Regulations are introduced and water classification efforts, supported by the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund, begin.

    2002-2012 – Non‐governmental groups continue to work in good faith with the Department of the Environment, waiting for perceived issues with the legislation to be addressed in order to proceed with classification.

    June 2012 ‐ A coalition of five community organizations file an official request to the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government to classify the Nashwaak River and its tributaries under Section 8.2 of Classification Regulation 2002‐13 of the Clean Water Act 2002‐56, as largely pristine “A” class waters.

    July 2012 ‐ The NWAI receives a non‐response from the provincial government, indicating neither acceptance nor denial of the application.

    February 2013 ‐ NWAI submits a complaint to the New Brunswick Ombudsman, requesting an investigation into the government’s inaction on regulation 2002‐13 the Water Classification Regulation of theClean Water Act.

    August 15, 2014 ‐ New Brunswick Ombudsman, Charles Murray, tables his report on the pursuant investigation to the New Brunswick Legislature.

    ‐ 30‐

    Links:
    Ombudsman’s Report:http://www.gnb.ca/0073/PDF/EnglishWaterClassificationReport.pdf
    http://www.nashwaakwatershed.ca
    http://www.conservationcouncil.ca

    Resources:
    http://www.nashwaakwatershed.ca/resources/water‐classification‐fact‐sheet/
    Conservation Council summary of Ombudsman’s report ‐http://www.conservationcouncil.ca http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/services/services_renderer.201090.html

    Contacts:
    Paul McLaughlin,
    President Nashwaak Watershed Association
    Tel: (506) 450-4943 Cell: (506) 440-3625
    E-mail:blindfaithstudio@gmail.com

    Stephanie Merrill,
    Freshwater Program Director Conservation Council of New Brunswick
    Tel: (506) 458.8747 Cell: (506) 261.8317
    E-mail:water@conservationcouncil.ca

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