Target: Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Goal: Declare all the area of Lancaster Sound a marine preserve by including oil and gas exploration areas allegedly no longer covered by a valid permit.
Home to a diverse array of wildlife, Tallurutiup Tariunga, also known as Lancaster Sound, has long been the object of conservation efforts by environmental groups and local Inuit communities. In 2009, it seemed efforts by local communities and environmental groups would be rewarded as the Canadian Government began the process of declaring the area a marine conservation area. However, this process stalled over key differences between the area the government was willing to protect and the area that environmental groups and local communities wanted included. These differences stemmed from oil exploration permits issued to oil giant Shell by the government of Canada in 1978. However, it now appears that the exploration permits expired in 1979 and were never renewed. We must take action now to demand that this sensitive area, home to a variety of endangered species, is finally fully federally protected.
The Government of Canada wanted to exclude the areas covered by the exploration permits from the marine conservation area, while local communities wanted the marine conservation area to include the area covered by the permits. Given that the permits have allegedly expired, there is no longer any obstacle stopping the government from declaring the entire area, typically referred to as the Serengeti of the Arctic, a marine conservation area. The sound is home to endangered species, such as bowhead whales, narwhals, beluga whales, seals, walruses, and polar bears. The surrounding land also is home to important breeding colonies of seabirds, which rely on a healthy fish stock for their continued survival.
Sign this petition to let the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau know that you support making all of Tallurutiup Tariunga a marine conservation area.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
Given that Shell’s exploration permits have reportedly expired in the areas that Nunavut communities proposed a Lancaster Sound marine conservation area, there is no reason why you shouldn’t create this conservation area in the spots that were formerly covered by the permits. The permits in question allegedly expired in 1979; Shell has had 37 years to renew their permits and have chosen not to. While it has been federal government policy to state that the permits are valid, as both Shell and the government have treated them as such, there is allegedly no evidence showing that these permits were ever renewed after 1979.
Lancaster Sound is an area of astonishing beauty and diversity that is home to a variety of endangered species. The surrounding land houses colonies of seabirds that rely on Lancaster Sound arctic cod stocks for their continued survival. Oil exploration might endanger and undermine the ecosystem but oil extraction definitely will. Therefore if oil is found, the ecosystem could easily be damaged by its extraction and ravaged by the inevitable spills. Since this is an area dominated by water and therefore lacking in barriers for pollutants, environmental damage cannot be strictly limited to areas covered by the exploration permits.
Thus, excluding the areas covered by the expired permits from the marine conservation area is fundamentally incompatible with the idea of a marine conservation area. Please heed the wishes of the local communities and include the areas covered by the expired permits in the Lancaster Sound Marine Conservation Area.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Alan Wilson