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British Petroleum gets petroleum board’s go-ahead to drill a well off Nova Scotia coast

The Council of Canadians and allies organized this ‘unwelcoming party’ inside the Halifax-building where BP has an office.

CBC is now reporting, “BP Canada has been given the green light to start drilling off Nova Scotia’s coast. On Saturday, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) granted approval for the company to begin drilling one deepwater exploration well about 300 kilometres offshore.”

Global News notes, “The announcement was made Saturday morning in a news release.”

Council of Canadians climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue has highlighted, “The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board is 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.”

The Canadian Press reports, “[A spokesperson for British Petroleum] did not say when exactly drilling will commence, but confirmed ‘it’ll be soon’.”


That Canadian Press article highlights, “Angela Giles, Atlantic regional organizer for the Council of Canadians, said she’s ‘disappointed, but not surprised’ that BP Canada was given the go-ahead to proceed with the drilling project. She said the biggest concern for her organization is the risk of a spill. ‘While these catastrophic incidents are not common, they’re possible, and no amount of regulations can completely protect us from that happening’, she said, adding that U.S. coastal communities and ecosystems are still suffering the effects from the 2010 [BP Deepwater Horizon] spill [in the Gulf of Mexico].”

Global News adds, “An ‘Unwelcoming Party’ was held this month in Halifax by the Council of Canadians with hopes of making it clear that BP Canada was not welcome in the province. The organization said BP Canada’s role in the Deepwater Horizon spill – which is considered the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry – should ‘disqualify’ BP Canada from drilling in Nova Scotia.”

And the CBC article notes, “Mi’kmaq communities have opposed the project saying it poses a serious risk to food, social and ceremonial fishing areas. …Earlier this month, Mi’kmaq activists and fishers gathered at BP’s Halifax office to voice their opposition. The Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office told CBC News at the time that before drilling takes place, further government approvals and consultation are needed.”

Take action

The Council of Canadians has been taking action against this dangerous offshore oil and gas project, including formal submissions, media releases, a speaking tour, an online petition, rallies, and much more.

On February 1, we denounced federal environment minister Catherine McKenna’s approval of BP’s application to drill up to seven exploratory wells in waters nearly twice as deep as where the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico took place. On March 20-23, we held three-community coastal speaking tour providing evidence of the serious risks of offshore drilling. And on April 10, Giles, Halifax-based organizer Robin Tress, South Shore chapter activist Marion Moore were at the ‘unwelcoming party’ noted in the Global News article.

Furthermore, we joined with allies for rallies to highlight these concerns outside the federal Liberal party convention in Halifax on both April 20 and 21.

Our South Shore chapter, which formed the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia, has been integral in this campaign.

To sign our ‘Offshore drilling not worth the risk: Protect communities, fisheries, tourism and climate from Big Oil’ petition – now just 357 signatures away from 10,000 signatures – please click here.