Lunenburg, 23 July, 2018 – Giving BP, one of the world’s worst polluters, the go-ahead to resume drilling for oil along the Scotian Shelf, after it spilled 136,000 litres of synthetic drilling fluid, is the wrong decision. It ignores the event’s real lesson and takes us down the same reckless path.
So concludes the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS), a project of the South Shore Council of Canadians based in Lunenburg.
“BP, the Canada/Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB), the industry-dominated regulator, and their federal and provincial political masters, told us a spill was very ‘unlikely’ “, says Peter Puxley of CPONS . “It was a lie then and it’s a lie now. That’s why they fear open public hearings, where science and expert opinion would quickly contradict them.”
CPONS and the Offshore Alliance, a coalition of 20 or so groups representing fishermen, fish plant operators, environmentalists, and other community and public interest organizations, want a moratorium on further drilling until after a full public inquiry on the pros and cons of offshore oil exploration.
“BP’s drilling mud spill is the canary in the mine shaft – a small indication of the catastrophe waiting round the corner,” says Marion Moore. “No one who grasps the risk to our traditional and renewable economic base could agree to more drilling without adequate science or study.”
CPONS argues that the potential returns from oil industry activity in the offshore pale by comparison with those from the fishery and tourism industries, while exploration puts those industries at risk. What’s more, further investment in dirty energy ignores Canada’s and Nova Scotia’s climate change responsibilities.
“There’s a greedy political calculus at work here,” says Puxley. “The premier dreams of short-term royalties he can spend to get re-elected. And he’s prepared to risk nothing less than the economic base of south-western Nova Scotia to get what he wants. It’s unbelievably irresponsible.”
A public inquiry that lays out the facts for Nova Scotians, and particularly the communities that bear the lion’s share of the risks from offshore oil exploration, is long overdue.
“Let the Premier tell us why we are not entitled to the truth and to have our opinion heard,” says Peter Puxley.
Peter Puxley firstname.lastname@example.org
Marion Moore email@example.com