Minister Wilkinson supports Indigenous and territorial partners in protecting Porcupine caribou in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


September 3, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario

“The Porcupine caribou herd is invaluable to the culture and subsistence of the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit peoples, and the Porcupine caribou calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in Alaska, are a sacred place. We have long opposed industrial development in this region due to the potential impact to the Porcupine caribou herd and to Indigenous Peoples. We continue to have significant concerns, which we raised during the environmental review process.

“Two weeks ago, the US released its final regulatory document that is leading to a sale of leases for oil-and-gas development in this region. Canada has international agreements with the US for the management of Porcupine caribou, polar bears, and migratory birds, and we have repeatedly raised our concerns about the impacts of development on these species. I am also aware of two lawsuits filed last week challenging the legality of the record of decision.

“We have worked with Indigenous and territorial partners on this issue and will continue to do so. My Yukon territorial counterpart, Minister Frost, has brought together these leaders in the past to build consensus on a path forward. Minister Frost will soon convene a fourth meeting of this group so that we can collectively discuss next steps and reaffirm our continued commitment to support our partners to achieve conservation outcomes for caribou and other species. Officials from Environment and Climate Change Canada will work with relevant federal departments to continue to support this process.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


Jocelyn Lubczuk
Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

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