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Can Beverly Hills star curb black-gold exploration?

Actor Jason Priestley poses with the Sierra Club of Canada's Gretchen Fitzgerald Mary Gorman of the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition.

Ruby Tree Films

He may have been in a show about Beverley Hills but Jason Priestley is Canadian and he's been enlisted by environmentalists to help stop oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Gulf "is home to over 2,000 different marine species, many of which are endangered," Mr. Priestley, one of the stars of 1990s teen drama Beverley Hills 90210, says in a new video.

"As a Canadian and someone who enjoys nature," he says, "I am very concerned about the impacts of offshore oil and gas exploration. Should this resource be exploited, any oil and gas spill would contaminate the coast lines of all five provinces on the Gulf. This is why we are calling for a moratorium on exploring and drilling for oil in the Gulf of St. Lawrence."

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The video was shot by Halifax filmmaker Donna Davies of Ruby Tree Films at Acadia University. The Wolfville, N.S., campus is near the set of HBO Canada's Call Me Fitz TV series, in which Mr. Priestley is starring.

It was posted Thursday on the websites of the Sierra Club Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Blue Whale Alliance, a voluntary coalition of environmental groups and concerned citizens calling for a moratorium on exploring and drilling for oil in the Gulf.

The Quebec government said last month it expected a draft agreement to be reached with Ottawa this fall on the exploration and drilling of the Old Harry oil and natural gas prospect in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Old Harry field represents an estimated two billion barrels of oil - twice the size of the Hibernia oil field - and maybe as much as five trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It remains one of the largest untapped hydrocarbon reserves in Eastern Canada and a major source of potential revenue for the government.

But environmentalists, fishermen, first nations and other groups are fighting the project, arguing a spill such at the one in the Gulf of Mexico this year would be a disaster of untold proportions if it occurred in Canadian waters.

The Blue Whale Alliance is also concerned that seismic blasting associated with the exploration will disrupt the feeding and migration of fish like cod and marine mammals such as blue whales.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Gloria Galloway has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She worked at the Windsor Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Canadian Press and a number of small newspapers before being hired by The Globe and Mail as deputy national editor in 2001. Gloria returned to reporting two years later and joined the Ottawa bureau in 2004. More

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