Environment Media release

News release: Nova Scotia at risk of a Deepwater Horizon Disaster?

Media Advisory

February 22, 2018

With oil and gas exploration approved off the coast of Nova Scotia for this spring, the Council of Canadians is organizing a hard-hitting coastal speaking tour providing evidence of the serious risks offshore drilling presents to sustainable fisheries, tourism, clean water and our climate.

“My investigation on board Atlantis and in the Alvin submarine revealed that an estimated 30 million gallons of oil from the BP spill remain in the Gulf — the equivalent of nearly three Exxon Valdez spills — and that about half of this amount has settled on the ocean floor,” says Antonia Juhasz, a guest speaker on the tour. “It is the most toxic parts of the oil which remain and will likely stay there forever, with ecological effects that could be devastating.”

BP, the same company responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon disaster, recently received federal approval to drill up to seven exploratory wells off the southeast coast of Nova Scotia, including in waters up to twice the depth of its Deepwater Horizon well.

This approval came shortly before the Trudeau government’s sweeping changes to federal environmental assessments. Local community, environmental, fishery and non-governmental organizations have issued a strong rebuke to the changes as they apply to Atlantic offshore drilling because of the increased decision-making power given to east coast petroleum boards, despite the CNSOPB’s mandate to ensure “safe and responsible development of Nova Scotia’s offshore petroleum resources”.

“Not enough people understand how close we are to offshore drilling in our coastal waters,” says Marion Moore, who is helping to organize the tour with Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS). “The consultation process for BP’s license was totally insufficient and many of the safety concerns we raised are unanswered. This tour is an opportunity to hear from people with experience and knowledge with offshore oil spills and the coastal waters we want to protect.”  


Antonia Juhasz, award winning investigative journalist and author of Black Tide: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill. Juhasz will speak about the causes and consequences of the Gulf spill and policy choices that enabled it as well as BP’s corporate role.

Colin Sproul, a fifth-generation lobster fisherman and spokesperson for the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishers’ Association who will speak to the importance of the sustainable fisheries and nature of Nova Scotian waters.  Antonia and Colin will be joined by a Council of Canadians representative and a local speaker.

WHEN & WHERE: Tuesday, March 20 in Halifax; Wednesday, March 21 in Shelburne; Thursday, March 22 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Details are available here.

The tour is organized by the Council of Canadians and the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS), supported by the Sierra Club of Canada Foundation, Ecology Action Centre and the Clean Ocean Action Committee (COAC).