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NEWS: Layton calls for G8 summit to discuss BP oil spill

CBC reports this evening that, “NDP Leader Jack Layton called on (Prime Minister Stephen Harper) to convene an emergency meeting of G8 environment ministers to put the Gulf spill on the agenda for this summer’s G8 summit in Muskoka, Ont.”

Harper appears to have ruled out this suggestion, adding that a similar oil spill couldn’t happen in Canadian waters.

This debate is emerging because of the explosion of the British Petroleum oil rig ‘Deepwater Horizon’ in the Gulf of Mexico, which could result in 445,000 barrels of oil pouring out of an underwater well head and severely polluting the water.

“Layton cited British Petroleum’s recent acquisition of three licenses in the Beaufort Sea for more than 6,000 square kilometres of drilling rights and said the company was trying to weaken the environmental requirements for drilling in the region.”

Not reassuringly, “Harper said the National Energy Board doesn’t allow for offshore drilling unless the safety of workers and the environment are protected — and that won’t change.”

The US Geological Survey has estimated that there is 90 billion barrels of oil and almost 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic region. Much of this energy would need to be drilled underwater. This means that oil and gas corporations are increasingly seeing the Arctic as a resource to exploit.

The Council of Canadians has called for a moratorium on all new exploration for fossil fuel resources in the Arctic region.

The CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/05/03/bp-oil-spill-question-period-g8.html.