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Logo of Save Our Seas and Shores, a coalition formed to address offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
A group of concerned citizens calling on the Prince Edward Island government to declare a moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence brought their concerns to the P.E.I. legislature Tuesday.
Representatives from Save Our Seas and Shores brought forward a petition with more than 1,200 signatures, asking the P.E.I. government to take the lead in opposing an offshore oil prospect being explored by Corridor Resources Inc.
The petition was tabled in the P.E.I. legislature Tuesday.
“We’re very concerned about the effects on the Gulf of St. Lawrence if seismic testing and drilling for oil goes ahead,” said Ellie Reddin.
“People remember in 2010 the big oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, well, the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a lot smaller and the effects could be devastating for tourism and our fisheries industries as well as for people with coastal properties.”
Corridor Resources has applied to the CanadaNewfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to drill a well east of Prince Edward Island.
The area known as the ‘Old Harry’ prospect in the Laurentian Channel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is one of the largest undrilled prospects in Eastern Canada and is estimated to hold up to two billion barrels of recoverable oil or up to five trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.
If regulatory approval is obtained, the proposed well should be drilled by the end of 2014, according to the company’s website.
The drilling project has garnered much concern and criticism by individuals and groups across Atlantic Canada and the Iles de la Madeleine who are worried about the devastating effects a possible spill or blowout.
Grade 8 students Lilly Hickox and Caroline Galloway decided to turn their concern into action.
They saw volunteers with Save our Seas and Shores at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market and were inspired to help spread the group’s message and recruit support.
They took brochures and signs to their school and encouraged fellow students and teachers to sign their name to the petition.
The two students gathered almost half the total number of signatures on the petition.
“We think it’s important to preserve the environment, and we don’t want an oil spill because it could kill marine life and there are endangered species too that could be at risk,” Galloway said.
“Hopefully, our work will result in positive results so that they will stop the plans for oil drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,” Hickox said.
Premier Robert Ghiz said he hopes the environmental reviews done by the federal offshore petroleum board overseeing this project will be diligent in ensuring it will not go ahead if it poses a risk to the waters off P.E.I.
“It’s something that we’ll watch, but we trust the systems that are in place now to ensure that the regulations and environmental procedures are being followed,” Ghiz said.