Legal challenge begun in relation to exploratory drilling in marine refuge

Exemption from federal environment impact assessment

Earlier this year, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Jonathan Wilkinson, created a regulation that exempts exploratory drilling projects in the offshore region east of Newfoundland from federal impact assessment because a large-scale Regional Assessment had been completed. However, environmental groups, including EAC, have argued that the Regional Assessment was fundamentally flawed and incomplete,

An oil exploration ship, this one owned by UK-based Stena Drilling, but similar to the type of vessel that may be used in the new area overlapping the marine refuge. (Stena Drilling Ltd via CBC)

The Regional Assessment[3] and the federal exemption regulation[4] are now being challenged in court by the non-profit Ecojustice acting on behalf of the EAC, WWF-Canada and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation.

Canada has committed to protecting 25% of its ocean area by 2025 and 30% by 2030 and counts both protected areas (MPA) and refuges towards this goal.

Although the current permit is for exploratory drilling only, if a production lease is granted for the refuge, the lease area no longer counts toward the protected area goals.

additional information-sources


  1. ^ (
  2. ^ Ecology Action Centre, (
  3. ^ The Regional Assessment ((https)
  4. ^ federal exemption regulation (

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