Gros Morne National Park protects 1,805 square kilometres of western Newfoundland’s coastal lowlands and towering Long Range Mountains and is one of Canada’s most treasured national parks. Gros Morne was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its unique geological features and spectacular natural beauty. In 2013 the park was threatened by a proposal to drill and frack for oil metres from the boundary. After a huge public outcry this proposal was stopped, but Gros Morne is still vulnerable to future industrial proposals. That's why CPAWS is working with concerned local community members, businesses and prominent Canadians to encourage the federal and provincial governments to create a permanent buffer zone around the park to protect it from harmful industrialization.
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In 2013 Gros Morne was threatened by a proposal to drill a series of oil exploration wells along the west coast of Newfoundland. The drilling program would have used hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as fracking)—the high-pressure injection of water containing toxic chemicals to shatter underground shale beds—to extract oil. Industrializing the Gros Morne coastline would not only have threatened the remarkable ecosystems of this World Heritage Site, it would have threatened the vital regional and provincial tourism economy which relies on the pristine natural beauty of Gros Morne’s coast and mountains to attract visitors from across Canada and around the world.
On November 5th, 2013 the provincial government announced a moratorium on fracking to allow time for further study and public consultation. Then on December 5th 2013, the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board announced it would not renew the license of the company proposing it. The license expired on January 14th, 2014.
While these measures are a welcome reprieve for Gros Morne, they are not long term solutions. The park and regional tourism economy are still vulnerable to future industrial proposals. What’s needed is a buffer zone around the park to keep Gros Morne permanently free of oil drilling and fracking and other harmful industrial threats.
In June 2014, in response to concerns raised by CPAWS, local citizens and businesses, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee recommended that Canada create a permanent protective buffer zone around the Gros Morne National Park to prevent harm from future industrial activities around the park.
Working closely with local concerned citizens, CPAWS is urging the provincial and federal governments to ACT NOW to establish a buffer zone around Gros Morne to keep the national park and surrounding area permanently free from industrial threats like oil drilling and fracking.
Please add your support to the growing list of people who want to ensure that Gros Morne is protected for future generations.
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