Offshore drilling not worth the risk: Protect communities, fisheries, tourism and climate from Big Oil

Despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s urgent plea to governments to immediately stop exploring for and extracting fossil fuels, and the clear risks to marine life and related industries, federal and provincial governments are continuing to support offshore drilling and exploration. The regulatory playing field is tilted in favour of the oil industry, instead of looking out for the interests of the people.

We know this regulatory regime unfairly favours the fossil fuel industry for a number of reasons. The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) and the Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) – the bodies responsible for the majority of regulation – is stacked with ex-industry representatives. These Boards conduct ‘public consultation’ that does not include genuine public hearings, and there is no clear path for communities to influence decisions made by the Board.

The federal government is in the process of passing Bill C-69, which in its current form further weakens the regulation of offshore drilling by granting more power to this Offshore Petroleum Boards, which have conflicting mandates to both promote oil and gas development.

The federal government approved BP’s recently concluded offshore drilling project near Sable Island despite the risk assessment being “not valid” according to industry expert Dr Robert Bea.

On the campaign trail, Justin Trudeau stated that “communities would grant permission” for projects, but there have not been adequate consultations with Nova Scotians or with Indigenous peoples.

We, the undersigned, call on the Trudeau government to institute a moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration until such time as a full, independent public inquiry has been completed. We further demand an end to proposed changes under Bill C-69 that would grant east coast petroleum boards more decision-making power in the environmental assessment process for Atlantic offshore drilling.

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