Regional Assessment

Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Regional Assessment of Exploratory Oil and Gas Drilling

Spencer Selover

Photo Credit: Spencer Selover 

Since 2018, East Coast Environmental Law has been actively advocating for stronger marine environment protections in the offshore regions of Newfoundland and Labrador as part of a regional assessment of exploratory oil and gas drilling. Although the Regional Assessment process finished in February 2020, we remain engaged because the resulting report and recommendations stemming from the regional assessment have resulted in a regulation that exempts all future offshore exploratory oil and gas drilling projects from federal impact assessments.

East Coast Environmental Law is seriously concerned about the potential consequences for the offshore marine environment, and the potential for future regional assessments to facilitate more exemptions of other environmentally-destructive activities from impact assessments. 

A judicial review of the Regional Assessment Committee’s Report was launched in May 2020. Another judicial review, of the Minister’s regulation, was launched in June 2020. The applicants in both judicial reviews, which have now been consolidated, are the Ecology Action Centre, WWF-Canada and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation.

A draft terms of reference for a Follow-up program was released by the Impact Agency of Canada in November 2020. It was open for public comment until December 12, 2020.