Environment groups say Bay du Nord approval flawed, must be overturned

OTTAWA — Lawyers for several Canadian environmental groups say Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault failed to consider all the climate impacts of the Bay du Nord offshore oil project when he approved it last year.

They are arguing in Federal Court today that the approval was unreasonable and should be overturned.

The oil project off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador could pump out at least 300 million barrels of oil in its lifetime, though a new analysis suggests the area may contain more than three times as much oil.

Guilbeault greenlighted Bay du Nord last April after an environmental review concluded there would be no significant environmental impacts that could not be mitigated.

Lawyers for Équiterre and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation say that assessment failed to consider the greenhouse gas emissions that will come from burning the oil, which will make up 90 per cent of the project's total carbon footprint.

They say the environmental review legislation requires the government to consider all the impacts, including those downstream emissions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2023.

The Canadian Press