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WIN! Mahone Bay town council calls for public consultations on BP offshore oil drilling

Mahone Bay town councillor Colleen O’Neill listens to South Shore chapter activist Marilyn Keddy raise concerns about BP drilling offshore of Nova Scotia.

The Council of Canadians South Shore chapter and its Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS) is pleased that the town council of Mahone Bay will be sending a letter to Dominic LeBlanc, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, expressing concern about BP drilling for oil and gas offshore of Nova Scotia and calling for public consultations on the matter.

On June 28, South Shore chapter activists Marilyn Keddy and Marion Moore made a presentation to Mahone Bay town council that included this offshore drilling fact sheet and their submission to the Canadian Environmental Agency. Moore adds, “We also offered suggested wording for a motion.”

The motion, introduced by Councillor Colleen O’Neill, that was passed unanimously states: “I move that Council authorize the mayor to sign a letter to the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coastguard, calling for a review of the legislation that authorizes the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to give permission to oil companies to drill off of the coast of Nova Scotia, and to urge the minister to conduct public consultations on the issue of oil drilling off the coast of Nova Scotia”

Council of Canadians climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue has written, “Bill C-69 grants more authority to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board by giving it the power to participate in the impact assessments for offshore drilling projects. CPONS has raised clear concerns with the petroleum board’s track record on not adequately involving the public meaningfully in their deliberations.”

The South Shore chapter was also instrumental in getting Lunenburg town council to express its opposition to BP offshore drilling.

On June 20, the National Observer reported, “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 had been attending Lunenburg town council meetings in the lead up to the vote on this issue and was asked for input into this letter. Moore tells us, “It was the impact of [our three-community tour in March] 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 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.”

Lunenburg Mayor Bailey has stated 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.

For more information and petitions related to this campaign, please click here.