Ecojustice Blog – Nature Posted on April 12, 2016 (updated: July 3, 2020)

We’re going to court to protect Lancaster Sound

Devon PageLawyer
Arctic ice
Photo by Tatiana Pichugina via Flickr

The Arctic waters of Lancaster Sound, the east entrance to the Northwest Passage, make up one of the richest marine ecosystems on earth.

These icy waters are home to narwhals, belugas, bowhead whales, ringed seals, harp seals and walruses. Polar bears roam the landscape, which is punctuated by dramatic cliffs and stunning fjords. The area is also essential to the survival of seabirds, like the thick-billed murre and black-legged kittiwake.

But old oil and gas exploration permits held by Shell Canada are obstructing efforts to protect Lancaster Sound.

Map of Shell Leases in Lancaster Sound by WWF Canada

Map provided by WWF Canada

Despite the fact its registry indicates that the permits, first granted in 1971, expired long ago, the federal government has relied on them to propose narrower boundaries for the long-awaited Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area. These narrowed boundaries fail to take into account the traditional knowledge of local Inuit communities and ensure that Lancaster Sound’s ecosystems and wildlife get the protection they need.

That’s why we’re going to court to invalidate these permits.  

Left unchallenged, Shell’s expired permits will continue to undermine efforts to protect Lancaster Sound.

Stand with us and help send these permits where they belong – straight into the trash bin.

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Lancaster Sound is home to Arctic species like narwhals, belugas, bowhead whales, ringed seals, harp seals, walruses, and many other animals.

Protecting Lancaster Sound

April 12,2016

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