Scientists allowed to seismic test for oil in Arctic area slated for protection

The Canadian Press (Bob Weber) – A northern regulator has given its go-ahead for government scientists to look for oil and gas in a proposed Arctic marine conservation area. But the Nunavut Impact Review Board has scolded the federal government for sending mixed messages about the wildlife-rich Lancaster Sound area. And environmentalists and Inuit leaders want Ottawa to immediately declare it has no intention of developing any potential energy resources the Geological Survey of Canada exploration turns up. “If we dont hear that kind of statement from the federal government, we could conclude that the concerns expressed by the Inuit communities are quite legitimate,” said Chris Debicki of Oceans North, speaking from Iqaluit. Last December, Environment Minister Jim Prentice signed a deal that was the first step toward creating Canadas fourth marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound off the north coast of Baffin Island. The designation has been long sought by Parks Canada, environmental groups and local Inuit.

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