November 10, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario

“Canada has long opposed development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge due to the potential impact to the Porcupine caribou herd and to Indigenous Peoples. Porcupine caribou and their calving grounds are invaluable to the culture and subsistence of the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit peoples.

“I have been closely tracking proposed developments in the refuge and their potential effect on transboundary wildlife. A proposed seismic project, the Marsh Creek East Seismic Exploration, is currently under environmental review by the United States and at the end of its public comment period. Canada has reviewed the relevant documents, focusing on the impact on species covered by management agreements with the United States—Porcupine caribou, polar bear, and migratory birds—and submitted official comments for the assessment process.

“In partnership with Indigenous and territorial governments, Canada has continued to raise significant concerns over development plans in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The schedule of this project extends into the time that caribou would arrive for calving in the refuge, and the project would foster future development on their core calving grounds. We believe this represents a significant risk for the herd and for the Indigenous Peoples and northerners that depend on it. I will continue to work with federal officials and our domestic partners to raise our concerns and engage with the United States’ review process.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change 

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