Bay du Nord: Équiterre and the Sierra Club make their voices heard in Federal Court

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Bay du Nord : Équiterre and the Sierra Club are heard before the Federal Court

Norwegian multinational Equinor's Bay du Nord project plans to exploit a deep-sea oil field. (File photo)

Équiterre, the Sierra Club Canada Foundation and Mi'gmawe'l Tplu'taqnn Incorporated (MTI) will appear before the Federal Court on Wednesday morning in Ottawa as they challenge the Minister's decision of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, to approve the Bay du Nord oil project off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Ecojustice had filed the lawsuit on behalf of the three environmental organizations in Federal Court last spring. The plaintiffs argue that approving the project runs counter to Canada's international obligations and the urgent call to reduce global emissions, as the reality of the climate emergency becomes increasingly alarming with each severe weather event.

The Bay du Nord project, of the Norwegian multinational Equinor in collaboration with the Canadian company Husky Energy, plans to exploit a deep water oil deposit, a first in the country.

While Equinor initially thought it could extract 300 million barrels, that number has more than tripled in more recent estimates.

Claimants' attorneys will make their case Wednesday and government officials are expected to reply on Thursday.

The judge's decision could take some time, according to Ecojustice.

The Bay du Nord project is scheduled to come into operation in 2028. The facilities will be located on the high seas, 500 km east of Saint-Jean. (File photo)

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault is one of the founding members of Équiterre, which is among the plaintiffs who sued.

The three organizations notably denounce the massive downstream emissions that the project will generate, even if the minister argued that Bay du Nord will have to respect 137 conditions, including one according to which the project must be zero greenhouse gas emissions. x27;here 2050.

The rhetoric from industry and governments that we can produce "clean oil" omits that the oil extraction process accounts for only 10% of an oil project's emissions. In fact, the remaining 90% comes from burning oil, reads the statement released by the plaintiffs when announcing the lawsuit.

The groups are doing also argue that the government failed in its constitutional obligation to consult affected First Nations communities when assessing the impacts of Bay du Nord.

The Mi'kmaw communities of New Brunswick are deeply concerned about the impact this project will have on aquatic species. In particular, we raised the issue of the negative impact that increased shipping could have on culturally significant species, such as Atlantic salmon, and the federal government responded by excluding shipping from the scope of the impact assessment, Chief George Ginnish of Natoaganeg, co-chairman of Mi'gmawe'l Tplu'taqnn Incorporated, said in a statement.

In the spring, the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a statement to The Canadian Press, in which it explained that it had accepted the agreement. environmental assessment carried out by the Impact Assessment Agency which conducted a rigorous, robust and transparent process that lasted almost four years and that the approval of this project includes the environmental conditions strictest ever imposed on a company.

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