Clyde River loses fight to block seismic testing
Federal Court of Appeal denies hamlet’s request for a judicial review of permit
CBC News, Aug 18, 2015
Clyde River, Nunavut, has lost its bid to block seismic testing off its shores.
The Federal Court of Appeal has denied the Baffin Island hamlet’s request for a judicial review of a testing permit issued by the National Energy Board.
In her written decision, Justice Eleanor Dawson says the board fulfilled requirements to consult with local Inuit and that consultation doesn’t necessarily mean agreement.
She noted that efforts to ensure the tests don’t unduly harm wildlife will be ongoing.
Clyde River mayor Jerry Natanine says he is disappointed with the decision.
“Obviously we were hoping to win this appeal but unfortunately it didn’t go our way,” he said.
“We are going to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada and that has been our position with the hunters and trappers [association] along with the hamlet.”
A consortium of three companies — TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA, Petroleum GeoServices and MultiKlient Invest AS — plans to do seismic tests in the Davis Strait, up and down the entire length of Baffin Island. The testing uses loud, high-intensity sounds to help map the sea floor and the geology underneath.
Clyde River argues that the testing would disturb or harm seals, whales, walrus and other marine mammals locals depend on for food.
The hamlet was joined in its opposition by all the communities on Baffin Island, regional and territorial Inuit groups and the Nunavut Marine Council, which represents Nunavut’s wildlife management bodies. A wide spectrum of non-governmental groups and individuals, including Lucy Lawless and Naomi Klein, also supported Clyde River, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and Amnesty International.
The consortium cancelled its plans to conduct seismic testing off of Baffin Island this summer, the second postponement since the consortium was granted a five-year licence from the NEB last year.