Seismic Testing Legal Challenge To Be Simulcast in Nunavut

TORONTO, April 16, 2015 /CNW/ - On Monday, April 20, 2015, community groups from the Nunavut Hamlet of Clyde River will present legal arguments in the Federal Court of Appeal in Toronto.  They will argue that the Court should reverse the National Energy Board's decision to permit seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.

Seismic testing is a first step in offshore oil and gas drilling.  The seismic survey in this case would involve a seismic ship travelling back and forth across Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, towing an array of airguns that produce pulses of sound waves under the water.

At 230 decibels, these airguns are far louder than any sound known to most human beings — about 100,000 times louder than a jet engine — and they would repeat every 13 to 15 seconds, 24 hours a day, while operating. Exposure to 140 decibels causes permanent hearing loss in humans.

Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, the areas of the proposed seismic testing, are rich in sea mammals, including narwhals, bowheads, walruses, and seals.  These marine mammals are staples of Inuit diet and culture.  Seismic testing is harmful to marine life. The heavy sounds and vibrations caused by seismic testing can cause permanent damage to marine animals, including permanent hearing loss, disruption of feeding, and disruption of migration routes.

Jerry Natanine, emphasized why this case is important: "Inuit have lived off of this land and these waters for centuries," said Mayor Natanine.  "The marine mammals in these waters are central to our way of life.  They are our food and are integral to our culture.  If the oil companies take that away, we'll have nothing left."

Although the hearing will be held in Toronto, the Federal Court of Appeal will simultaneously broadcast the hearing to a courtroom in Iqaluit, Nunavut.  "We applaud the Court's decision to broadcast the hearing in Iqaluit," said Nader R. Hasan, the lawyer who represents the Clyde River applicants.  "This case is important to all Canadians.  But it's especially important to the people of Nunavut because it's their livelihood at stake.  It was important that at least some people in Nunavut will be able to watch the hearing live without coming all the way to Toronto."

The hearing will begin at 9:30 am on April 20, 2015 in courtroom 7C at the Federal Court Appeal, 180 Queen Street West, 7th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Courtroom 7C.

The simulcast of the hearing will be broadcast at the Nunavut Court of Justice, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Courtroom 2.

SOURCE Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan

For further information: Media Contact: Nader R. Hasan, Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan, Barristers, T: 416-964-9664, E: nhasan@rubyshiller.com, W: www.rubyshiller.com

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