(Ottawa) Canada on Thursday gave its support to groups fighting for caribou conservation they believe are threatened by the recent U.S. permission for oil and gas drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge bordering the Canadian Yukon area .
Posted September 3, 2020 at 5:02 PM
France Media Agency
Donald Trump’s administration approved a program in August to pave the way for such drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest conservation area in the United States.
The sale of oil concessions in this wildlife preserve, coveted by the industry for 30 years, could begin “as soon as the year’s end,” US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt told the Wall Street Journal.
Environmental and indigenous groups responded by filing two lawsuits in the United States last week to block industrial exploitation in the Arctic refuge, the polar bear sanctuary. caribou and migratory birds.
Ottawa has long opposed drilling in this area because of their “potential impact on the Porcupine caribou herd and indigenous peoples,” said a statement from the Ministry of the Environment.
He recalls that Ottawa and Washington have made international agreements to conserve this herd of caribou – one of the few healthy ones in Canada – and other species that stretch across the Alaska-Yukon border.
Canada has also created two major national parks in the Yukon coastal plain, adjacent to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to protect the herd.
“The Porcupine Caribou herd is invaluable to the culture and livelihood of the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit, and the Porcupine Caribou calving areas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska are a sacred site,” said Canada’s Environment Minister. , Jonathan Wilkinson.
The Canadian government, he told AFP, is united with the Yukon government and indigenous representatives “in their commitment to preserving this herd and its habitat.”
“Canada will continue to express concern to the United States about an exploitation that could adversely affect the Porcupine caribou herd,” he said, adding that Ottawa is also considering other approaches.