(Montreal) Équiterre and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation are suing Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault over the approval of the Bay du Nord oil project off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ecojustice filed the lawsuit on behalf of the two environmental organizations in Federal Court on May 6.
The plaintiffs argue that approval of the project “runs contrary to Canada’s international obligations and the urgent call to reduce global emissions, as the reality of the climate emergency grows more alarming with each passing year.” severe weather event”.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, environmentalists recall that the Minister of the Environment and founding member of Équiterre approved the Bay du Nord project a few days after the publication of the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (IPCC) and that Secretary-General António Guterres called new investments in the fossil fuel sector “moral and economic folly”.
The Bay du Nord project, of the Norwegian multinational Equinor in collaboration with the Canadian company Husky Energy, plans to exploit a deep-water oil field, a first in the country. While Equinor initially thought it could extract 300 million barrels, that number has more than tripled in more recent estimates.
Équiterre and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation denounce in particular “the massive downstream emissions that the project will generate” even if the minister argued that Bay du Nord must respect 137 conditions, including one according to which the project must be zero gas emissions at greenhouse effect by 2050.
“The industry and government rhetoric that ‘clean oil’ can be produced ignores that the process of extracting oil only accounts for 10% of an oil project’s emissions. In fact, the remaining 90% comes from the combustion of oil,” reads the statement released by the plaintiffs.
The two environmental groups point out that “over 30 years, between 300 million and 1 billion barrels could be produced at the floating platform over its lifetime”, which would equate to “GHG emissions of 7 to 10 million more cars on our roads per year”.