Ecojustice Blog – Nature Posted on January 29, 2020 (updated: June 17, 2020)

Bye bye: Offshore drilling licence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence expires

Devon PageLawyer
Gulf of St. Lawrence needs protection from offshore drilling
Photo by Northern Marine Sanctuaries GRNMS

We’re excited to share that Corridor Resources’ license for oil and gas exploration for the Old Harry prospect in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has expired. This important victory removes one threat to the Gulf of St. Lawrence’s sensitive environment, and the species and communities that depend upon it.

While we continue to celebrate what this update means for the Gulf, we can’t let it overshadow that we are still waiting for a decision from the court on our case.

As you might recall, last February, we argued that the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board broke the law when it renewed Corridor Resources’ exploration licence well past the maximum nine-year lifespan permitted under federal and provincial laws.

Term limits are there for a reason. They protect the environment from rights-holders who lack the capacity or technology to drill safely. That’s why a decision from the court on the legality of the Board’s extension remains just as important as ever.

In the last year alone, the federal government has proposed similar dodgy licence extensions for companies looking to drill in the Beaufort Sea. And the government of Newfoundland and Labrador wants companies to drill 100 more exploration wells in the next 10 years.

We need to know whether the regulators will be able to indefinitely extend exploration licences — and the threat they pose to our sensitive ocean ecosystems.

As we wait for the court to hand down its decision, you can rest assured that Ecojustice remains committed to using the power of the law to protect nature, the climate and communities from coast to coast to coast. This includes preparing to go before the Supreme Court of Canada later this spring to ensure that governments, including reticent governments in Ontario and Alberta, take steps to address the climate emergency.

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