Nfld. & Labrador

Famous Canadians call for no-fracking zone near Gros Morne

Some prominent Canadians are calling for a buffer zone near Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park to prevent hydraulic fracturing and other resource development.

Open letter released to PM and N.L. premier

Green Point, on the coastline of Gros Morne National Park, on Newfoundland's west coast. (CBC)

Some prominent Canadians are calling for action to prevent hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, and other resource development near Gros Morne National Park on Newfoundland's west coast.

Last summer, UNESCO called on Canada to do more to protect the world heritage site, following a proposed fracking operation which generated much public outcry and ultimately failed in 2013.

The letter is addressed to Premier Paul Davis and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and touts the need for a permanent buffer zone outside of the boundaries of Gros Morne.

Thirty well-known Canadians have signed on to the letter, including musician Tim Baker; writers Lawrence Hill, Joseph Noyden and Lisa Moore; astronaut Roberta Bondar; and actor Greg Malone. 
Gros Morne mountain is a central landmark of the park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Malone thinks the country needs to commit to preventing future resource exploration in the area.

"If we can't protect the most brilliant places in our province and in our country, what are we doing," he said.

Needed leadership

Neither Parks Canada nor the provincial government have yet said how they plan to respond.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) said both levels of government are waiting for the other to act.

CPAWS National Executive Director Érik Hébert-Daly thinks there is a need for leadership and political action on the issue.

 "There's still some confusion that exists there between various levels of government about who should be leading," he said.

"No one can run roughshod over the other, so we do need them all at the table and start working on a solution."

The province has instituted a fracking moratorium while it conducts a review of the drilling process.

With files from Vik Adhopia


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