Environmental groups sue Canadian government over oil project

Environmental groups are suing the Canadian government in a bid to overturn its approval of Equinor ASA’s Bay du Nord offshore oil project, according to Sierra Club Canada, which is one of the plaintiffs.

The Canadian government approved the $12bn Bay du Nord project in April after an environmental assessment concluded it would not cause significant adverse effects.

The project involves building a floating platform to drill an estimated resource of up to 1bn barrels in the Atlantic Ocean, about 310 miles off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador province.

Sierra Club and Équiterre, represented by Ecojustice, filed suit on May 6th, seeking to overturn the decision.

Sierra Club spokeswoman Gretchen Fitzgerald said that the legal action will argue that federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault failed in his duty to consider the international impact of the climate-warming carbon emissions that would be generated by Bay du Nord.

“Approving a new oil project that will emit that much greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to the climate emergency will certainly go beyond international boundaries,” Fitzgerald said. Earlier on May 11th she addressed shareholders at Equinor’s annual general meeting in Stavanger, Norway, urging them to cancel the project. Equinor said that it was focused on working with partners and local authorities to mature the project towards a final investment decision. Canada-based Cenovus Energy holds a 35% stake in Bay du Nord. Equinor says Bay du Nord will be the lowest carbon-intensity oil project in Canada