KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – News that BP is abandoning its oil exploration off the shore of Nova Scotia is a relief, but it’s way too early to celebrate, says Marilyn Keddy.
Keddy is the chair of the South Shore chapter of the Council of Canadians, and a member of the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS).
BP still has other unexplored claims, and yet another company has plans to start seismic testing next spring, Keddy says.
“It is very important that we continue to push for a public inquiry that looks at all the research on offshore drilling under the existing conditions. Then make a decision whether anyone will be out there at all,” Keddy says.
“Such an inquiry should reflect the input from everyone who is affected, the fisheries, the community, and the oil industry. It should also address that in the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) we have a regulatory board that is captured by the industry and that is also a promoter off offshore exploration,” says Keddy.
Equinor, formerly Statoil Canada, is seeking permission to do seismic testing this spring, says Keddy.
Equinor has acquired two parcels near Georges Bank and Roseway Basin respectively, together covering some 6,400 square kilometres.
The loud noise generated by seismic testing is highly detrimental to marine animals who typically are dependent on sound for all their life functions, like mating, feeding, orienting and detecting hazards.
The Nova Scotia Government continues to market offshore oil and gas opportunities. This summer it announced an $11.8 million investment in offshore mapping and exploration, in the hope of attracting yet another oil company.
“The government still selling this as an opportunity. in spite of the evidence that it isn’t a job creator, but puts sustainable industries like fisheries and tourism at risk,” says Keddy.
“It just doesn’t make sense. The government is looking for short terms gains without thinking for a moment of our future and our environment.”