"Arctic Villages Stop Seismic Tests as Canada Mulls Oil Future"

"Above the Arctic Circle in Canada near Greenland, five Inuit villages have won a court order that blocks a German icebreaker from conducting seismic tests of an underwater region that abounds with marine life -- and possibly with oil, gas and minerals.

For the villagers who live in this mostly treeless region of fiords, icebergs and polar bears, the case was a victory that forces the national and territorial governments to consult them over the use of their homeland. The decision comes as Canada, Alaska and other Arctic regions are deciding whether to allow oil and gas development in Arctic waters that are covered by ice for nine or more months each year.

'We've been saying all along that we aren't anti-development, we aren't anti-science,' said Okalik Eegeesiak, the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which asked the court of Nunavut Territory to block the geological study. 'But we want to be involved, to be sure our environment and our wildlife are protected as much as possible.'"

Renee Schoof reports for McClatchy Newspapers August 18, 2010.

Thursday, August 19, 2010