Environment Media release

Press release: Public meeting required: NS Offshore Alliance

The Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS) has called for an open Public Meeting with media present so all Nova Scotians can hear clearly from the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) the rationale behind their project review and licensing process.

CPONS, a member of the Nova Scotia Offshore Alliance, was invited by the CNSOPB to a private meeting to discuss their widely-publicized criticisms of the Board’s composition and methodology. “This secretive, divide and conquer approach of unrecorded meetings with individual stakeholders does not meet even the lowest standards of public consultation,” claims CPONS spokesperson Marilyn Keddy.

The Alliance, a growing association of over twenty Nova Scotia environmental, fisheries and citizens’ organizations was formed to press the Trudeau government to make good on its promise “to make environmental assessment credible again.”

“Fixing Nova Scotia’s offshore oil and gas regulation,” says Keddy, “has a long way to go.”

“How can an industry-captive Board, comprised of government appointed oil industry veterans, claim to be open and objective when their ‘consultations’ like those recently held with South Shore municipalities are all behind closed doors?” asks John Davis, Director of another Alliance member, the Clean Ocean Action Committee (COAC) which represents more than 9,000 Nova Scotia fishery workers.

“They come to these private meetings armed with so called ‘fact sheets’ and make misleading claims like Correxit, the dispersant used in British Petroleum’s catastrophic Deepwater Horizon disaster, is as safe as ‘baby shampoo.’  No wonder municipal councillors come away with a false impression,” says Davis.

The Offshore Alliance has done a detailed analysis of the CNSOPB handouts.  “Clearly the CNSOPB is more than simply a regulatory body,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald, Program Director for Alliance member the Sierra Club Foundation.   “They both regulate and promote.”

The CNSOPB is the federal-provincial agency that decides whether, where, when and under what conditions oil companies can explore for oil and gas in our offshore waters.  They have recently licensed British Petroleum to drill on the Scotian Shelf. The Alliance takes exception to their “consultation” process and is offering the CNSOPB a real opportunity to engage with the public.

For further information please call:

Marilyn Keddy, Campaign to Protect Offshore NS (CPONS), mfkeddy@eastlink.ca

John Davis, Director, Clean Ocean Action Committee (COAC), jbdavis@eco-nova.com

Gretchen Fitzgerald, Program Director, Sierra Club Foundation