Environment Media release

Media release: It’s time for BP Canada to go, Offshore Alliance

Groups demand moratorium and public inquiry into offshore drilling, not license extensions for fossil fuel extraction.

January 16,  2020

K’JIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The Nova Scotia Offshore Alliance (NSOA) is reaffirming its call for a moratorium on all offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling until a full public inquiry can be completed on this dangerous activity. This statement comes in response to this week’s news that the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) has approved an extension to BP Canada’s license to drill offshore. 

“Fifty-four per cent of Nova Scotians don’t want BP here at all,” said Robin Tress, Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians, citing polling conducted by Corporate Research Associates in October 2018. The Government of Nova Scotia has formally recognized that we are in a climate crisis, and yet they continue to enable and promote offshore oil and gas exploration. “These actions are totally incongruent,” said Tress. “We know that the climate crisis is real – forest fires are ravaging Australia currently and have destroyed forests in Canada. By approving this extension and promoting fossil fuel extraction, Nova Scotia is adding fuel to the fire.”

According to the CNSOPB, BP Canada will pay an additional deposit to extend their license, allowing them another year to drill a well in their license area 350km offshore Nova Scotia, near Sable Island. This is the second time BP been granted an extension to its license.

“BP has proven to be a negligent company on multiple occasions. Many fishers will be extremely disturbed to know that this company is still permitted to carry out an extremely dangerous activity in our oceans, risking the lobster and other fisheries that keep coastal communities afloat,” said John Davis, co-chair of the NSOA and director of the Clean Ocean Action Committee, a fisheries organization representing 9000 vessel owners, captains, crew members and fish plant owners.

Just two months after Environment and Climate Change Canada claimed BP’s project was “not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects,” BP spilled 136,000 litres of toxic drilling mud into the ocean. “Given BP’s safety record and CNSOPB’s lack of functional regulatory oversight, this is a lose-lose for our coastal economies and the renewable resources upon which we depend,” added Davis.

“This extension is a slap in the face to the 12 municipalities that have voiced concerns about the way offshore oil and gas is regulated,” said Marion Moore from the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia. “The Town of Lunenburg, my community, has passed a motion calling for a public inquiry and moratorium into the regulation of offshore oil and gas. Despite the clear and growing public demand for action, BP has been permitted to continue exploring offshore.”

The Nova Scotia Offshore Alliance is a growing coalition of concerned organizations, communities and individuals determined to change the industry-captive regulatory regime which currently governs our offshore oil and gas industry.  To accomplish this, we demand an immediate moratorium on all exploration and production drilling off our coasts and a full public inquiry. 

Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is a grassroots-based social action organization, mobilizing a network of 60 chapters across the country and over 150,000 supporters from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Through our campaigns we advocate for clean water, fair trade, green energy, public health care, and a vibrant democracy. We educate and empower people to hold our governments and corporations accountable.

Join us and be part of a global movement working for social and environmental justice. We believe a better Canada and a fairer world are possible. Together, we turn that belief into action.

The Council of Canadians is a registered non-profit organization and does not accept money from corporations or governments.