Exploration for Oil | Seismic testing will torture whales during migration
4 November 2010 – 10:25am
OTTAWA — As a result of the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) decision to allow seismic activity this fall in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, migrating blue whales will have to pass through waters being blasted by excruciatingly loud sounds, to which the whales are highly sensitive.
These sounds tell oil companies where they should drill. This seismic blasting is taking place all Fall off the coast of Western Newfoundland in an exploration for oil in the Gulf of St. Lawrence by Corridor Resources.
“The decision to allow seismic this fall demonstrates that the CNLOPB does not take seriously their mandate to protect the environment and does not listen to scientific experts who warned that seismic would be of the highest threat to the endangered blue whale,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May.
Only 250 blue whales are left in the North Atlantic and they are classified as an endangered species. Mitigation measures outlined in the environmental impact assessment of the seismic survey were severely criticized by marine mammal specialists.
“An unelected and apparently incompetent board is making these crucial decisions which could lead to the downfall of an entire species in Canadian waters. It is not right and shows again that the current offshore regulatory structure is not working and should be dismantled, with federal powers of protection for our fisheries and environment restored,” said May.
Oil and gas activity is regulated by the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB), the Canada–Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, and the National Energy Board, all of whom purport to put environmental protection above all other considerations when making regulatory decisions. The approval of this seismic permit was also sanctioned by Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea and Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice, who ignored the pleas of scientists, environmentalists, fishermen and First Nations.
Documents as part of the environmental assessment process show repeated warnings from alarmed scientists across Canada who found Corridor Resources to be woefully uninformed about the impact of seismic on marine animals and proposed mitigation measures to be completely ineffective.
“The whales won’t be singing on their way home and we can only hope that they won’t beach in an attempt to get away from the horrific noise of seismic testing,” say May. “Reading the scientific reports on the effects of seismic testing on marine animals is quite heartbreaking. Obviously all the science was ignored by the regulators and is leading to a severely compromised ecosystem in the Gulf.”