Environmentalists from B.C. Suing the Federal Government Over Oil and Gas Permits

coast drilling

Environmentalists have sued the federal government over “sleeper” oil and gas authorizations, which they claim could allow exploratory drilling off the coast of British Columbia.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Federal Court on behalf of World Wildlife Fund Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation by lawyers from Ecojustice. The environmentalists claim that the permits could encourage oil drilling in ecologically sensitive areas like the Scott Islands Protected Marine Area and the Hecate Strait/Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs Marine Protected Area. 

Both areas are of “outstanding ecological value and vulnerable to damage from human impacts, including oil and gas activities,” according to the lawsuit.

Ecojustice says that the permits are held by Chevron Canada Limited and Exxon Mobil for offshore oil and gas exploration in B.C. They were supposed to end, but Natural Resources Canada has extended the permits indefinitely.

The groups say that extending the permits is against the law because it goes against the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, which says that the minister can’t indefinitely extend exploration interests.

According to the lawsuit, the minister “acted unreasonably and without jurisdiction,” by extending the permits.

A lawyer for Ecojustice, Ian Miron, says that the federal government has “unlawfully kept these permits on life support” for over 40 years, even though they present a threat that oil and gas exploration could be done in two of the most biodiverse and sensitive ecosystems on the coast of British Columbia.

“The federal government has committed to protecting 25% of its marine and coastal areas by 2025 — working toward 30% by 2030. Keeping these expired permits active is out of step with Canada’s climate commitments and biodiversity protection goals,” said Miron.

Original source material for this article taken from here

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