Nunavut Inuit furious over seismic testing decision

Clyde River Mayor Jerry Natanine says he's so angry he could start a war over the National Energy Board's decision last week to approve an application for seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.

'Nobody cares for our concerns,' says Jerry Natanine, mayor of Clyde River, Nunavut

"Nobody cares for our concerns,” says Jerry Natanine, mayor of Clyde River, Nunavut. People in the hamlet were vocal in their opposition to seismic testing taking place in the area. (submitted by Jerry Natanine)

Some Inuit in Nunavut are furious over the National Energy Board's decision last week to approve an application to do seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.

Jerry Natanine, mayor of the hamlet of Clyde River about halfway up the eastern coast of Baffin Island, says he’s so angry he feels like starting a war.

“Nobody cares for our concerns,” Natanine said in Inuktitut. “And our Minister [of the Environment] in Ottawa, Leona Aglukkaq, not speaking up against this for Inuit is very wrong.”

The National Energy Board of Canada has approved a five year offshore project to do seismic testing looking for oil and gas reserves.

An international consortium of three companies has won approval to do seismic testing in the waters east of Baffin Island later this summer. (Canadian Press)

Numerous Inuit voiced their outrage during a CBC Nunavut phone-in show on Friday. One person called for Inuit to help vote in a new government. Another said it’s time to fight back before wildlife move elsewhere.

The Qiqiktani Inuit Association helped the National Energy Board hold its public consultations last year, but QIA president Okalik Eegeesiak says nobody was satisfied.

“When they had public hearings, they weren’t prepared and it was hard to understand what they were trying to do,” she said in Inuktitut. “The Inuit in communities and QIA were concerned.”

Eeegeesiak says QIA is now reviewing the application with the help of Nunavut Tunngavik and the Nunavut Impact Review Board, and will keep the public informed.

Eegeesiak says they haven’t ruled out taking legal action.

Duane Smith, president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada, says the group has no official position.

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