For Immediate Release
Arctic Ocean Foreign Ministers Told Leave It in the Ground
OTTAWA - While Arctic Ocean Foreign Ministers met in a closed door session, civil society organizations were outside, demanding a moratorium on new fossil fuel exploration. With a "leave it in the ground" oil slick banner, the Council of Canadians and the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) delivered copies of an open letter sent to the Ministers calling for a moratorium.
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.
"It is suspicious that Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon, Secretary of State Clinton and the other circumpolar Foreign Ministers are meeting outside of the Arctic Council without the presence of Indigenous Peoples, especially when the massive Arctic Oil and Gas reserves and their exploitation are being discussed," says Clayton Thomas-Muller, Tar Sands Organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
"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."