KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – “You can’t eat oil and you can’t eat money,” said Mahone Bay mayor David Devenne to explain why the town is asking for a moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration until an independent inquiry establishes the risks.
The picturesque town of Mahone Bay depends to a large extent on tourism and would be devastated if a spill were to occur, Devenne said.
“Right now we don’t have good information,” said Digby County deputy warden Linda Gregory. “People in my district mostly make a living of the fisheries. I am a fisherman’s daughter and a fisherman’s wife. Fisheries in Nova Scotia provide 26,000 direct jobs, and another 26,000 indirect jobs.”
Devenne and Gregory, who are attending a Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities (NSFM) conference here, spoke earlier this afternoon at a press conference in downtown Halifax.
The event was organized by the Nova Scotia Offshore Alliance, a coalition of concerned fisher, social justice and environmental organizations, communities, and individuals.
In all, 12 Nova Scotia municipalities have called on the provincial and federal governments to launch a public inquiry into the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of offshore drilling and exploration off our coast. Pending the inquiry’s conclusion there should be a moratorium on any offshore exploration, they say.
The call of the municipalities reflects the failure of the province and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to establish that exploration under current conditions is safe.
This despite efforts by the CNSOPB to convince councillors in Southern Nova Scotia that there is nothing to worry about.
More municipalities are sure to follow, John Davis, who is with the Clean Ocean Action Committee, tells the Nova Scotia Advocate. The coalition intends to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the municipal conference to network, and has organized several events to explain to councillors why it is so concerned.
370 US east coast communities from Virginia to New Jersey have said no to offshore drilling and exploration, Davis said.
Last year a motion at Halifax Council to stop offshore drilling and exploration unconditionally was rejected, and subsequent efforts to table a less radical request that Council call for a moratorium and inquiry was essentially shrugged off.
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