Arctic Summit Told to Leave It in the Ground

For Immediate Release

Council of Canadians
Contact: 

Clayton Thomas Muller, Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner,
Indigenous Environmental Network, monsterredlight@gmail.com,
218-760-6632

Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner,
Council of Canadians, aharden@canadians.org,
613-218-5800

Arctic Summit Told to Leave It in the Ground

OTTAWA, Ontario - The Indigenous Environmental Network, the Council of Canadians, and the
Alaska based REDOIL Network have issued an open letter calling for an
international moratorium on all new exploration for fossil fuel
resources in the Arctic region. The letter is directed at the Foreign
Ministers of Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia and the United States who
will be present at the Arctic Summit in Chelsea, Québec, March 29, 2010.

The discovery of 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet
of natural gas in the Arctic region has triggered a rush to secure
access that includes petroleum companies such as Shell and Exxon.

“New oil and gas development is anything but responsible in the face of a
very serious climate crisis which requires governments like those
meeting in Chelsea to rapidly reduce emissions,” says Andrea
Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “It is
no small irony that increased access to exploit reserves in the fragile
Arctic Ocean ecosystem is largely the result of melting sea ice.”

“We believe that a moratorium on fossil fuel development would be a
first step to addressing the climate crisis we are in. Strong actions
need to be taken now by Governments of the world to effectively address
climate change. Indigenous peoples worldwide bear the consequences of
Global Warming daily and we want concrete action now," states Faith
Gemmill, Executive Director of the Alaska based Resisting Environmental
Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL).

“Climate change is responsible for increased levels of contaminants like
mercury, DDTs and PCBs in staple edible fish species near my home
community,” says Daniel T'seleie, a K'asho Got'ine Dene from Fort Good
Hope, Northwest Territories. “Increased development of Arctic oil and
gas would not only contribute to the climate crisis that is devastating
Arctic communities, it would also add more direct pressure to fragile
ecosystems that are already stressed by the combined impacts of climate
change and existing development.  This would be an unconscionable
infringement on the rights of Arctic Indigenous Peoples.”

Excellent photo opportunities: The IEN and the Council of Canadians will
bring a message to Foreign Ministers to "leave it in the ground" Monday
afternoon at the parking lot off of Meech Lake road near the road
leading to the Arctic Summit meeting location.

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