Quebec threatens to sue over oil exploration on reserve
The Innu nation of Pessamit, located about 50 kilometres southwest of Baie Comeau, announced earlier in the day that it has agreed to let Trans-American Energy undertake gas exploration on part of its 145,000-square-kilometre reserve and its vast ancestral territory. The latter extends into the St. Lawrence River where, this fall, the provincial government announced a freeze on oil and gas exploration in the river’s estuary.
« We won’t tolerate this and we certainly won’t tolerate anyone challenging the moratorium, » Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau said.
Chief Raphael Picard of the Innu Council of Pessamit said the band will proceed despite the government’s decision.
He acknowledged the St. Lawrence’s wildlife is fragile, but stressed his people are sovereign on their territory. « The government didn’t seek our input before adopting the moratorium, » he said.
Ms. Normandeau announced the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the St. Lawrence after an environmental impact study showed it posed too much risk to fish and wildlife.