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Media Statement On Bay du Nord Announcement

Sierra Club Canada Foundation continues to call for the immediate rejection of the Bay du Nord oil drilling project off Eastern Canada and support for workers and communities in Newfoundland and Labrador to shift to wind, efficiency, and energy storage opportunities. The federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault announced today he will continue to study the impacts of this project before making his decision in 40 days.

“We are in a climate emergency. The global scientific community and global energy analysis state very clearly that no new fossil fuel projects can be permitted of we are to achieve safe climate targets. This project will pour fuel on the climate change emergency and make the lives and livelihoods of people in Newfoundland and Labrador less – not more – secure.” according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director.

“Today, we had hoped that Canada would show much-needed leadership on climate change, and that our government is ready to make the tough decisions needed for a safe climate future for all. Even hesitating to approve new oil and gas project makes Canada look like a hypocrite on the world stage, where we claim to want to be climate leaders, and where we’ve committed to halt support for fossil fuel projects abroad,” she added.

“It is also important to note that the environmental assessment before Cabinet ignores serious scientific concerns from DFO, and has not addressed the risk of a blowout, risks to deep sea corals and sponges, or the risk to endangered whales from ship strikes. Not only that, the assessment was performed for a project over 3 times smaller in terms of oil production, used outdated climate targets for Canada, and ignores the emissions from burning fossil fuels produced by the project – which are incompatible with safe climate limits.

“Since we now have a delay, we need governments to take this time to finance a just transition for NL. It is also vitally important that public funding not be used in any way to support an economic dead-end like Bay du Nord. That money needs to be prioritized for a just transition instead.” according to Fitzgerald.

“This hesitation to reject Bay du Nord is in part due to pressure from my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I am deeply saddened to see the provincial government of NL is still listening to the echo chamber of oil lobbyists who know these projects contradict climate targets and do not have an economic future. There are many in the province who want a green transition, the Federal government needs to hear those voices too,” says Conor Curtis, Digital Communications Coordinator with the Sierra Club Canada Foundation. ““It’s shameful that proponents of oil and gas have chosen to try to frame a humanitarian crisis resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an ‘opportunity’ for developing projects like Bay du Nord, projects that would take years to come online and would have no impact on the immediate situation.”

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For more information, please contact:

Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director
gretchenf@sierraclub.ca

Conor Curtis, Digital Communications Coordinator
conorc@sierraclub.ca

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