Further Update on the Proposed Drilling on Ellesmere Island

March 3, 2010

Colleagues and Members of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology,

I'm writing to let you know of the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s (NIRB) response to Weststar's proposed Ellesmere Island Coal Project.

I have attached their letter (now posted on the NIRB Web site), and the news couldn't be better!  Given the potential adverse impacts to wildlife and paleontological resources, NIRB has recommended that Weststar’s project (as currently proposed) be modified or abandoned. This is the strongest possible outcome in our favor. Although NIRB’s recommendation awaits acceptance by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, we are cautiously optimistic that the Minister will follow suit. NIRB’s decision sets an important precedent with regard to economic development of the Arctic, and it is clear that they see the fragility of the Arctic ecosystem and its irreplaceable cultural and paleontological resources. 

This decision would not have happened without the support of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and its members who submitted letters of concern over Weststar’s proposal.  
Blaire Van Valkenburgh
President, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology