Target: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Minister Carolyn Bennett
Goal: Revoke old oil drilling permits so that protections for Arctic narwhals can be implemented.
Protections for threatened narwhals are being blocked by old Arctic oil drilling permits still held by Shell Canada since 1971. The World Wildlife Fund in Canada is suing the Canadian government to revoke these permits so that these majestic horned whales can be protected from the effects of climate change and human intervention.
Because of these permits, which some environmental lawyers argue aren’t even valid, there are certain areas of the Arctic that are not protected by the government. These areas contain essential narwhal habitat, as well as habitats for polar bears, walruses, seals, and beluga and bowhead whales. It also contains territory important to local indigenous tribes.
The Canadian government has been negotiating with Indigenous leaders to draw new lines around protected areas, but those proposed by the Indigenous groups conflict with waters guaranteed to Shell for oil drilling. Revoking these legally questionable permits from a company that’s partially responsible for climate change and widespread habitat destruction would solve this problem. It should be a no-brainer.
There’s no reason why these decades-old permits should still exist other than to cater to a massive corporation that’s been lining the pockets of politicians for years. Sign our petition to demand that the Canadian government chose environment over greed and revoke Shell’s drilling permits so the narwhals and other animals can receive protections.
Dear Minister Bennett,
It seems that protections for threatened Arctic species such as the narwhal, polar bears, walruses, and seals are being held up because proposed new boundaries for protected waters are conflicting with oil drilling permits from 1971. These permits, given to Shell Canada, are so old that it makes little sense why they should still exist. In fact, multiple environmental lawyers are calling their validity into question.
These permits could be easily revoked in the Canadian government chooses to do so. Oil is an outdated form of energy and drilling poses severe risks to the surrounding environment which have little protection from the oil spills that so often occur. These spills can have lasting negative effects on local habitats and animal species, risking entire ecosystems. This also threatens the traditions and survival of local Indigenous populations.
If the Canadian government is letting these permits ride to pander to a massive oil corporation, that is not even close to a proper excuse to deny protections to threatened animal species and continue disrespecting Indigenous groups. We demand that Shell Canada’s old oil drilling permits be revoked in order that narwhals and other species can receive government protection.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dr. Kristin Laidre