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Sierra Club calls for Gulf drilling moratorium

The Sierra Club Canada Foundation and Save Our Seas and Shores is hailing the suspension of oil drilling on the Old Harry site in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Corridor Resources announced its decision to suspend drilling on Monday, but the Sierra Club and SOSS are pushing the federal government for a full moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the Gulf waters north of Pictou County.

We have pushed for over a decade and even took court action to stop oil and gas drilling at Old Harry in the Gulf,” said Gretchen Fitzgerald, the Sierra Club Canada’s national program director, in a release Tuesday.

First Nations leaders from communities around the Gulf called for a 12-year moratorium on oil and gas development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2014.

The Sierra Club and four other environmental organizations with representation from EcoJustice are currently challenging the re-issuing of a new licence to Corridor Resources after its nine-year expiry date in court, with intervention by the Innu-Maliseet-Mi'kmaq Alliance.

“The governments and any prospective partners Corridor is appealing to now should know what is at stake, and refuse to be part of any action that would further jeopardize whales in the Gulf,” said Mary Gorman of Merigomish, an SOSS member, in the same release.

Despite this opposition, Corridor said in a June 11 release they want "regulatory relief" and project partners to proceed with seismic surveys in the search for viable oil reserves.

Environmentalists say that seismic blasting may cause the extinction of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf.

Seismic blasting was previously carried out in 2010 while blue whales were migrating through the region.

According to the Sierra Club, Corridor energy’s suspension of activities at Old Harry was made possible by thousands of Canadians speaking out, including scientists and First Nations communities who called for proper public consultation around fossil fuel exploration.

“I hope the message is finally becoming clear: oil and gas development is not welcome in this precious place,” said Fitzgerald.

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