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WIN! Lunenburg town council takes a stand against BP drilling offshore of Nova Scotia

Retired senator Wilfred Moore (second from the left) represented the town of Lunenburg at a meeting about BP offshore drilling with the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board last month. The Council of Canadians South Shore chapter met with him there to highlight its opposition to BP offshore drilling. Photo by Marion Moore.

The Council of Canadians South Shore chapter is pleased that Lunenburg town council is expressing its opposition to BP oil and gas drilling offshore of Nova Scotia.

The National Observer reports, “Lunenburg town council has decided to take a stand after the recent government approval of British Petroleum’s deepwater drilling project 300 kilometres off the Nova Scotia coast. …Lunenburg Mayor Rachel Bailey and her team of town councilors stated their concerns about the controversial project and the approval process for offshore drilling in Nova Scotia in a letter to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, and Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Dominic LeBlanc.”

The South Shore chapter, which has a project called the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS), has been attending Lunenburg town council meetings on this issue and was asked for input into this letter.

The article adds, “In the letter, Lunenburg town council makes two requests: 1) A review of an approval process that they don’t believe meets ‘reasonable expectations’. 2) Stricter regulations concerning the proximity of drilling projects to protected marine areas and sensitive ecosystems.”

And the article explains, “In April, the oil giant began drilling the first of seven planned exploratory wells, some twice the depth of the Deepwater Horizon well, site of the largest marine oil spill in history in 2010. The explosion and sinking of the Transocean oil rig [off the coast of Louisiana] ravaged the Gulf of Mexico, leaking about 3.19 million barrels of oil from BP’s pipes into the ocean over 87 consecutive days. …Locals [in Lunenburg] worry that an uncontrolled spill could wreak havoc not just on the town and it’s two main industries, but also on the water, [Mayor Bailey] said.”

Mayor Bailey says she feels a responsibility to shine a spotlight on this “disregard for the will of the people”.

The Council of Canadians has been voicing its opposition to BP’s plan to drill offshore of Nova Scotia since December 2017 when news of it first emerged.

That opposition has included the chapter’s submission to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEEA) review of BP’s proposal, this online petition, and a three-community tour that included a public forum in Lunenburg on March 22. Chapter activist Marion Moore tells us, “It was the impact of the tour that led to at least twenty-five people sending messages to Lunenburg town council and twelve of us attending the first meeting where this was discussed.”

The National Observer article also notes, “BP’s project has also been opposed by local Mi’kmaq First Nations as well as the Council of Canadians. The CBC reported their joint ‘unwelcoming party’ at BP offices in Halifax [on April 11], after approval was announced, to voice concern over the project’s potential damage to historic fishing grounds.”

The South Shore chapter will also make a presentation at the June 28 meeting of Mahone Bay council where they anticipate a resolution on BP to be voted on.