Environment Media release

Media release: Offshore Alliance delighted MKI has postponed offshore exploration project

Win for effort to see moratorium and public inquiry on offshore drilling

Halifax/K’jpuktuk — The Offshore Alliance is claiming MKI’s delay of its offshore seismic exploration project as a victory, following news that the company will take some time to “assess demand for seismic data from region.”

“This is great news,” says Angela Giles of the Council of Canadians. “There is no room left in the global carbon budget for development of new fossil fuel reserves, and the seismic exploration process has demonstrable horrific impacts on our oceans and other industries.”

“MKI’s initial plan was to survey the entirety of the Scotian Shelf with massive booms of sound,” says Simon Ryder-Burbidge of the Ecology Action Centre. “Mammals, like dolphins, whales and seals, communicate vocally. Imagine, you’re trying to have dinner with your family and somebody’s firing a shotgun outside of your house every 10 or 12 seconds. That’s what seismic exploration is like for these animals.”

The Offshore Alliance has been calling for a moratorium and inquiry into the decision-making process surrounding offshore drilling since July of last year, citing the regulator’s consistent ignorance of other industries put at risk by offshore drilling, such as the $5B fisheries industry, and the $4B tourism industry.

“Now is the perfect time for a moratorium and inquiry,” says John Davis of the Clean Ocean Action Committee, an organization representing more than 9000 people who are wholly dependent on our ocean’s renewable resources. “With no major projects on the horizon, little evidence that there is any oil off our shores, and mounting evidence about the risks of even looking for more oil, this is the appropriate time for the federal government to initiate an independent inquiry into the economic, social, and physical impacts offshore drilling.”

The Offshore Alliance has received the support of nine municipal governments in Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia NDP in their call for an in-depth look at the impacts of offshore drilling. This petition for a moratorium and inquiry have been signed by more than 60 000 people, and people have been organizing opposition to the offshore in their communities for years. In spite of this opposition to the offshore industry, in 2018 the provincial government designated$11.8 million for oil industry research. In a province where fisheries revenues are critical and where offshore drilling appears increasingly uneconomic, this public spending is as wasteful as it is risky.

“We can build the jobs we need in the renewable economy,” says Marion Moore of the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia. ”By stopping offshore drilling and exploration we can ensure the preservation of thousands of good Nova Scotian jobs spread across Nova Scotia in the fishing and tourism industries, and invest in a just transition to a renewable economy.”