Canada holds Nunavut consultations on offshore oil and gas drilling

AAND tours 10 Baffin communities with GN, QIA


In the wake of one major oil company dropping its plans to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska in 2014, the Canadian government is holding public consultation meetings around Baffin Island on potential oil and gas exploration in Nunavut’s waters.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is holding public meetings in 10 Baffin Island communities.

At the meetings, they want you to “hear our plans and timelines for strategic environmental assessment for potential oil and gas exploration in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait,” a Qikiqtani Inuit Association press release said.

The Government of Nunavut and QIA is joining AAND on the 18-day tour.

The schedule for those dates is as follows:

• Pond Inlet: Feb. 3;
• Clyde River: Feb. 4-5;
• Cape Dorset: Feb. 5-6;
• Pangnirtung: Feb. 7;
• Qikiqtarjuaq: Feb. 10-11;
• Iqaluit: Feb. 11;
• Resolute: Feb. 12 and 15;
• Grise Fiord: Feb. 13-15;
• Arctic Bay: Feb. 16-18; and
• Kimmirut: Feb. 19-20.

Right now, no companies are drilling for oil and gas off Nunavut waters.

On Jan. 30, Royal Dutch Shell said it has dropped its plans to drill in Alaska in 2014.

That’s because the American federal appeal court ruled against the U.S. government’s 2008 decision to lease land to Shell to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska.

“This is a disappointing outcome, but the lack of a clear path forward means that I am not prepared to commit further resources for drilling in Alaska in 2014,” Shell’s CEO, Ben van Beurden, said in a Jan. 30 press release.

The U.S. appeal court ruled with several environmental groups that included The Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund.

The court decided that licenses given to Shell by the U.S. government should not have been granted.

That’s because final environmental impact statements were “not essential to informed decision making at the lease sale stage,” according to the Jan. 22 court ruling by a panel of three judges.

Greenpeace members are thrilled about the news.

“Today’s news caps a miserable decade in the Arctic for Shell,” read a blog post on’s website by James Turner.

“The Arctic has become an albatross around Shell’s neck,” Turner wrote.

Shell said capital spending will be reduced this year from $46 billion in 2013 to $37 billion in 2014.

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