Your voice is urgently needed. The Council of Canadians has just learned that Big Oil giant BP is in the process of moving a massive oil rig to offshore Nova Scotia where it has received approval from the Canadian government to begin drilling exploratory wells.
BP could start drilling just days from now – and the risk of an environmental disaster is simply too great for you and me to ignore.
To make matters worse, BP is on the move without obtaining a final permit from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB), an unelected board of mostly former oil industry executives with a conflicting mandate of both promoting oil and gas development and protecting the marine environment. This is the same board that would be given more power in federal environmental assessments under Bill C-69, currently being debated.
So I’m urgently writing to ask you to please add your name to our national petition calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to reverse the federal approval of BP’s offshore drilling.
If the name BP sounds familiar it’s for good reason. It’s the same company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico – the largest marine oil spill ever recorded.
Now BP is eyeing new sources of oil offshore Nova Scotia and has federal approval to drill nearly twice the depth of the Deepwater Horizon well.
A spill would be devastating to area marine life, and the fishing and tourism industries that are the lifeblood of Nova Scotia’s economy. For example, BP intends to drill 70 km east of the Gully Marine Protected Area and 50 km Northeast of Sable Island National Park, threatening endangered species like the Right Whale and thousands of sustainable fishery and tourism jobs.
The risk is even greater offshore Nova Scotia, where stopping and containing a ruptured well is made more difficult by virtue of the harsher conditions of the North Atlantic.
In January, the Trump administration proposed opening almost all U.S. federal waters to similar offshore oil and gas drilling. Both Democrats and Republicans from 12 Atlantic coastal states, including almost all of Nova Scotia’s closest American neighbours, have unanimously opposed the proposal citing unacceptable risk.
The Council of Canadians South Shore chapter and staff have been a leading voice in this fight since we first learned of BP’s plans. We just finished a hard-hitting coastal speaking tour in Nova Scotia featuring independent experts providing evidence of the serious risks offshore drilling presents to sustainable fisheries, tourism, clean water and our climate. Here’s what we know:
BP is on the path to making similar mistakes as they did in the Gulf Coast spill, including an oil spill plan that may use the toxic Corexit (a chemical dispersant) and failing to have a capping stack located nearby – in fact, the closest is in Norway!
BP isn’t the only Big Oil company seeking to drill offshore Nova Scotia. Norway’s Statoil is also pursuing approval to drill and potentially many more.
There is a renaissance of sustainable fisheries and tourism in Nova Scotia, and the jobs created by those industries are critical to local economies.
Many Nova Scotians and Canadians beyond are still unaware that offshore drilling is proceeding despite widespread lack of public awareness and a growing opposition among those who are aware.
Pursuing risky offshore drilling is inconsistent with Canada’s commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
You and I can’t sit by and let BP start drilling with so much at risk. But we must act with urgency.
In addition to our national petition, the Council of Canadians is busily working to hire an independent expert to provide evidence on the risks of offshore drilling in Nova Scotia that challenges the BP project approval. And we’re building municipal and grassroots opposition through petitions, social media, rallies, education materials and presentations.
But you can help right now by adding your voice on this critical issue.