Inuit Villages Sue to Stop Seismic Tests for Oil, Gas

Publication: The Seattle Times

Author: Renee Schoof

08/21/2010 - Above the Arctic Circle in Canada near Greenland, five Inuit villages have won a court order that blocks a German icebreaker from conducting seismic tests of an underwater region that abounds with marine life — and possibly with oil, gas and minerals.

For the villagers who live in this mostly treeless region of fjords, icebergs and polar bears, the case was a victory that forces the national and territorial governments to consult them over the use of their homeland.


The Pew Environment Group, which advocates creating the marine-conservation area, argued that seismic testing wasn't necessary to create a marine park. The Inuit association said underwater mapping for a park already was done in 1989. The Inuit have rights under their land agreement with Canada to continue hunting, fishing and trapping and to be part of decision-making.

"This is a controversy about oil and gas," said Scott Highleyman, the director of Pew's Arctic program. "Now that the judge has ruled, we're looking forward to working constructively with both the Inuit and the government on creation of a park in Lancaster Sound — something we are all in agreement about — to prevent this kind of conflict in the future."

Read the article Inuit Villages Sue to Stop Seismic Tests for Oil, Gas, in it's entirety, on the USA Today Web site.

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