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Executive Summary for July 28th

We review the latest Arctic news, including a Canadian Inuit community’s court victory over oil exploration plans, a Russian nickel producer’s efforts to curb pollution, and maritime safety concerns over the growth of Arctic shipping.

Published on July 28, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Big Win for a Little Hamlet

The tiny Canadian Arctic community of Clyde River has won a legal battle in its country’s top court against an oil company’s proposed offshore seismic testing. As the Globe and Mail reports, the decision found that the country’s National Energy Board failed to adequately consider the constitutionally protected hunting rights of Clyde River’s Inuit residents, who feared that seismic testing could harm nearby marine life.

The decision will help define how Canadian Indigenous rights affect potential resource projects. While the National Energy Board was found to have failed to properly consult affected Indigenous people, these rights don’t amount to a veto.

Pollution Progress

Nornickel, one of the world’s biggest nickel producers and one of the Arctic’s biggest polluters, says it has sharply cut its sulphur dioxide emissions. But, as the Barents Observer reports, critics remain concerned about pollution that has long drifted across the border into nearby Norway.

The company credits the drop in emissions to new briquetting technology being used at its plant in Zapolyarny, which traps sulphur in ore while producing pellets. But questions remain about how much of that sulphur is later released into the atmosphere when those pellets are burned at Kola GMK’s factory in Nikel, near the Norwegian border.

Stormy Waters

As the Crystal Serenity cruise ship embarks on its second voyage through the Northwest Passage, experts warn that the Arctic lacks much in the way of emergency response infrastructure, the New York Times reports.

Experts give the Crystal Serenity’s owners high marks for preparation, but, given the rising number of cruise ships and cargo vessels venturing into Arctic waters, they worry about the possibility of a less prepared vessel encountering trouble, resulting in an extensive search-and-rescue operation.

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