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Oil and Gas Challenge Could Enshrine Companies’ Duty to Consult

The Inuit of Clyde River, Nunavut are going to court against a National Energy Board (NEB) decision to permit seismic testing of oil and gas deposits in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.

“It’s the first true grassroots opposition to Canada’s drive to drill for oil in the Arctic,” Hasan and Natanine write, “and it’s pushing back against an NEB that is wilfully ignoring Aboriginal Canadians’ rights to free, prior, and informed consent.”

The community is arguing that testing could destroy wildlife on which Inuit depend for subsistence and income, and that it wasn’t adequately consulted before the NEB issued the permit.

“The case of Clyde River vs. the NEB could end up redefining the future of all drilling in the Canadian Arctic and beyond,” iPolitics notes.

“If the court renders a decision favourable to the claimants, it will create jurisprudence that no other court will be able to overlook. The right to be consulted is at the centre of this legal case; a victory for Clyde River would affirm that offshore oil and gas development can only proceed on residents’ terms.”