Call for a Moratorium on Oil and Gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Action Deadline: 
Sun, 2012-12-30 23:00

Submit Your Comments to the C-NLOPB Today!


The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board is accepting comments on their strategic environmental assessment for oil and gas off Western Newfoundland. Although we question the legitimacy of the consultation process, our silence could mean rigs are allowed in to our Gulf as soon as next year!

Please write your comments to the Board by emailing here:

Make sure to CCStephen Harper - Prime Minister of Canada:, Thomas Mulcair - Leader of the New Democratic Party:, Bob Rae - Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada:, Vivian Barbot - Leader of the Bloc Québécois:, Elizabeth May - Leader of the Green Party of Canada:, Hon. Kathy Dunderdale- Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:, Hon. Pauline Marois  - Premier of Québec:, Hon. Darryl Dexter - Premier of Nova Scotia:, Hon. Robert Ghiz - Premier of Prince Edward Island:, Hon. David Alward - Premier of New Brunswick:

Some things you want to raise:

1. Ask for the Board to tell you how your comments are being used to protect the Gulf and let them know consultation process was inadequate (Federal Envirnment Minister Kent stated that "thorough consulation" was required as part of the assessment);
2. 2. Endangered blue whales are found in the Gulf - and their migratory pathway is right next to where they want to drill. Lots of other endangered and theatenned species are found there too like leatherback turtles and imperiled cod stocks: how will these species be protected?
3. How will coastal communities and national treasures, like Gros Morne National Park, be protected from a massive spill like BP’s?
4. Tell them you want a moratorium as this is the only way to protect this precious ecosystem, shared by five of Canada's provinces.

For more detals on the Western Newfoundland Strategic Envirnmental Assessment, please go here:



The shoreline of the Gulf of St. Lawrence -  the magnificent St. Lawrence River, the sandy beaches of Prince Edwards Island, the breathtaking vistas of Cape Breton, and the rugged shores of Newfoundland - are iconic Canadian seascapes.

The Gulf contains a variety of habitats, ranging from deep-sea corals to sandy clam beds, and is home to over 2000 marine species - including the endangered blue whale and imperiled cod stocks.

Five Canadian provinces bound the Gulf: Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Ocean currents in Gulf mean that what happens in one part of the Gulf could impact the entire region.

Right now, however, offshore oil and gas regulators act like their “piece” of the Gulf has no connection with the others: as a result, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, acting alone, allowed seismic testing to go ahead at an oil lease in the middle of the Gulf - known as "Old Harry" - in October 2010.

Organizations, scientists, and concerned individuals have joined together to stop oil and gas in the Gulf. Our worst fear is that a spill on a scale of that which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico would damage the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence. We need your help now to stop oil and gas in the Gulf!

Write to the Prime Minister, Federal Party Leaders, and Gulf Premiers:

Contact info for the leaders:
Prime Minsiter Stephen Harper,
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair,
Bloc Quebecois Leader Daneile Paillé (online form):
LIberal Leader Bob Rae,
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May
NS Premier Darrell Dexter
NL Premier Kathy Dunderdale,
NB Premier David Alward,
PEI Premier Robert Ghiz
Premier Jean Charest (Online form)

You can use our draft letter to get you atarted, but please remember, personalized letters expressing your concerns are far more effective!

Dear Prime Minister Harper, Federal Party Leaders, and Gulf Premiers,

I am writing to ask you to act immediately to stop oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We witnessed a global environmental catastrophe and loss of human life due to the disastrous BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I want you to make sure a similar disaster will not happen here.

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is a unique and highly productive ecosystem, bounded by five Canadian provinces. Over 2000 marine species live in the Gulf, including the endangered blue whale and severely imperiled cod stocks. The Gulf ecosystem supports thousands of jobs and supports multi-million dollar industries such as fishing and tourism. This vibrant, shared ecosystem should not be placed at risk.

Right now, the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board is considering allowing exploratory drilling at the Old Harry lease, in the middle of the Gulf. This ecosystem is simply too productive and unique to be placed at risk.

I am asking that a moratorium be placed on oil and gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. I am also asking that federal and provincial leaders take action to work together to protect this shared ecosystem. I look forward to your response.


[Your Name & Contact Information]



Write a Letter to the Editor of Your Local Paper 

Be sure to say:

How much the Gulf of St. Lawrence means to you.

Ask for an immediate stop to oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf.

Why oil and gas should not be allowed to jeopordize this unique and productive ecosystem. Some of the major concerns include:


  • damage caused by seismic blasting, which alters feeding and migration patterns for fish and marine mammals;
  • the risk if a disastrous oil spill in the Gulf;
  • and the threat to livilihoods based on a healthy Gulf, such as fishing and tourism.

Ask when they will act on recent recommendations of an independent review of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, calling for a separate, arms-length body to regulate safety in the offshore oil industry (find out more here.)

Ask that our federal and provincial leaders join toghether to protect this this precious, shared ecosystem.



As a grassroots organization working to be a Voice for the Earth, the Sierra Club needs your help to protect the Gulf. 



We need your support to make sure oil and gas is never allowed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Help make our voice stronger.


Sandy Pond

Here is a copy of an editorial I composed for the editorial section of the evening telegram. Other Options To Sandy Pond Gerry O’Connell, in a recent editorial, states that using Sandy Pond has nothing to do with cost and everything to do with safety and the environmental protection. He further states that the project was investigated with scrutiny by all stakeholders. I take exception to this and I find his assertions purely based on economics. The location to Long Harbour was I suggest based on the fact that Sandy Pond is out of sight out of mind. It could be easily kept out of the public eye and with a couple of dams could create the perfect tailings pond. The environmental assessment was merely a formality. If a third party like Memorial University were asked to do an environmental assessment the results would be much different that a few days observation. The destruction of Sandy Pond and subsequent possible environmental fallout to the water shed is an environmental catastrophe for this pristine area which is surpassed in Canada only by the Tar Sands. No one who has fished this pond can tell you that there was something different about this pond. Why were the fish so fat? Why was there a strange looking char like fish which was never identified? Why was there such an abundance of rainbow smelt? Why was there such a diversity of biotic life unlike other areas? The answer is in the ecological and biological evolution of a water system that was isolated since the last ice age. One solution to another tailings site option which has not been identified is using a naturally occurring gorge. One such feature is located adjacent to Sandy Pond which is located to the North of Sandy Pond. This valley has two steep walls of rock on either side running east to west and a pond in the valley which has a small population of native brook trout. It is about five hundred meters wide and a half a kilometer long. All that needs to be done is dam off either end and you have a secure site which will not be a significant environmental concern. This might not be such a bad idea if it were looked at. This development is a needed economic investment for not only Long Harbour but also for the province. No one is advocating that this project shouldn’t go ahead. However, no one can deny that we must proceed with extreme caution. The residents of Long Harbour cannot forget the red tide from the phosphorous fallout and the deformed wildlife found in this area for years after ERCO shut operations. Let us look at all options and think about what our children will inherit. Boyd Winsor, a friend of Sandy Pond

Thanks for Helping Save Sandy Pond!

The Sandy Pond Alliance will be going to court this fall to try and protect the special place you describe so well! This ecosystem has evolved over thousands of years - we should not allow our government to wipe it out with a regulatory sleight of hand. Let's make sure it's there for our children to enjoy for many, many years to come!


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