The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which declared Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland a world heritage site, has said it will remove the designation if measures aren’t rolled out to protect it from fracking and oil exploration.
The UN arm wants Canada to put in place a specific buffer zone around the boundaries of the park, effectively closing it off to natural resource exploitation. This echoes similar sentiment by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (C-PAWS).
“We really think a carefully designed buffer zone would be a huge step towards making the park well protected from industrialization in the long term,” said Alison Woodley, director of parks with C-PAWS.
Gros Morne was declared a world heritage site over 25 years ago in 1987 due to its amazing scenery and unique geology, which has helped to understanding better plate tectonics. However, UNESCO voiced concerns last year over proposals to frack a few hundred metres from the boundary of the park.
This prompted the provincial government to issue a ban on fracking following protests and research. Nonetheless, there are still a few locals who wanted development due occur in the area aside from tourism.
However, some individuals such as Sue Rendell of NL Fracking Awareness Network and Gross Morne Adventures welcomed UNESCO’s move to call for a buffer zone around the park.
“You know, it is a great little success story in a rural area in Canada, and there’s not a lot of rural areas in Canada, unfortunately, that have similar success stories,” said Rendell, according to CBC News. “I’m certainly really happy to hear that news,” she said, as she hoped Canada will follow suit.
The UNESCO’s recommended buffer zone will now automatically apply to other new world heritage places. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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