Arctic exploitation stopped in Nunavut!

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Arctic exploration stopped

By BRIAN LILLEY, Parliamentary Bureau

OTTAWA – Attempts to explore the contents of the earth below Canada’s Arctic waters near Lancaster Sound have been put on hold by a Nunavut judge.

The joint project of the federal government’s natural resources department and the German Alfred Wegner Institute for Polar and Marine Research was supposed to begin as early as this week.

The plan was to use seismic testing, which involves blasting sound waves off of the earth below the sea to map out what lies below the waters.

Two agencies of the Nunavut government had signed off on the testing but not everyone was happy. Some Inuit groups and environmentalists opposed the testing, claiming it could damage wildlife in the area.

In a ruling issued Sunday, Justice Sue Cooper agreed and granted an injunction.

Cooper sided with those seeking the injunction who argued that the air guns used to blast sound waves through the water would damage the hearing of marine mammals.

Cooper’s decision notes that there are protocols in place to lessen the impact of hearing loss, with the judge saying the fact that such protocols exist means there could be an impact on wildlife and the food supply of the Inuit communities near the testing.

“On the whole of the evidence presented, I am satisfied that Inuit in the five affected communities will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted,” the decision reads.

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