A Victory for Sable Island!
Yesterday evening, federal Minister Wilkinson and Nova Scotia Minister Tory Rushton announced that they will not approve oil and gas drilling off the shores of Sable Island National Park Reserve.
Sable Island supports the world’s largest breeding colony of Grey Seals, is the only breeding grounds of “Special Concern” species the Ipswich Sparrow, and provides critical habitat for the endangered Roseate Tern and endemic Sable Island Sweat Bee. It is also home to a protected population of wild horses.
Furthermore, the area proposed for drilling is adjacent to the Gully Marine Protected Area, home to an endangered resident population of Northern bottlenose whales and several other marine species.
This is a remarkable win for many reasons. Firstly, Ministers Wilkinson and Rushton suspended the involvement of the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, in effect, overruling the standard process. Secondly, this is the second major victory against oil and gas drilling led by East Coast Environmental Law through funding from our Public Voice Fund. Finally, the Ministers are “… actively pursuing the establishment of a joint regulatory regime for offshore renewable energy by amending the Atlantic Accord Acts”. This would expand the Board’s mandate to include regulating and enabling the development of an offshore wind sector in Nova Scotia.