Saturday, 3 February 2018

BP Offshore Drill Project Approval Points to Need for Reform

  • OTTAWA - Sierra Club Canada Foundation is disappointed, but not surprised, that Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna approved up to seven exploratory drill wells for BP off Nova Scotia yesterday. The leases where BP will be drilling are located 48 km from Sable Island National Park and 71 km from the Gully Marine Protected Area, home to the Northern bottlenose whale and deep-sea corals.

    "I wish I could say I was shocked, but sadly I'm not," stated Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director of Sierra Club Canada Foundation. 

    "This project could result in a massive blow out on the East coast, one 
    that we are not prepared nor equipped to deal with. Even under the best 
    conditions, BP says it will take two weeks to cap a well. That's two weeks 
    for oil to flow, threatening whales, fish, birds, and fisheries."

    The Environmental Assessment Report for the project indicates that in 
    case of a spill, oil could reach fishing grounds on Emerald Bank in 6 days, 
    and Georges Bank in 20 days. Since the company’s own estimate of getting 
    a well capped and contained after a blowout is between 13-25 days, and its 
    self-assessed "worst case" scenario is that a blowout would be uncontrolled 
    for up to 30 days, this puts these fishing grounds at an unacceptable risk. 
    It should be noted that the Gulf of Mexico spill lasted almost 90 days.

    The approval, signed by federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, 
    lays out some conditions, including the requirement that BP consult 
    indigenous groups regarding the specific aspects of its spill response plan. 
    In addition to readiness for capping wells, spill response may include using 
    dispersants - chemicals that have been shown to harm marine life and threaten 
    human health. However, final say on the oil spill plan will go to the 
    Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, which has a conflicting 
    mandate to promote the oil industry.

    "This is exactly the type of regulatory capture that was reversed in the 
    United States after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Our offshore oil 
    regulations are deeply flawed and the soon-to-be released new 
    environmental assessment law must absolutely demonstrate improvements 
    ithis direction," adds Fitzgerald." We will continue to mobilize with our 
    allies to stop the BP project from proceeding this spring."


  • ra Club Can

1 comment:

PinP said...

B.P. British Petroleum. Remember them? Such a reputable, upright corporation. So responsible. Maybe they can "outdo" their infamous Gulf of Mexico spill right here in our very own Canadian waters. Such a climate leader you are, Minister McKenna! (Sarcasm intended.)

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