Council urges Offshore Petroleum Boards to improve on environment, Indigenous rights

Today, the Council sent letters to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to raise concerns with their conflict of interest, mandate and composition. These letters were partly in response to a resolution brought forward to our Annual Conference last October in St. John's by the South Shore chapter.

In the letters, we call for a moratorium on offshore drilling and licenses being issued until:

  • New board members must be appointed with environmental sustainability and public engagement expertise, and who represent the communities of interest that are impacted by the decisions;
  • The Board’s mandate must be updated to align with greater efforts to protect the environment, our oceans, and our fisheries, with specific regard to public engagement and climate change;
  • The Harper Government’s regulation change requiring companies to only complete environmental assessments for the first of a set of exploratory wells must be reversed. All wells should undergo complete environmental assessments;
  • The Board’s mandate must be updated to include an upstream and downstream climate emissions test;
  • Policy changes must be made based on lessons learned from industry mistakes such as the 2016 riser drop in Nova Scotia and update regulations accordingly to minimize future accidents;
  • The UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be respected. Licenses must not be approved without free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples.

We hope that the Offshore Petroleum Boards take our critiques into consideration and we see some real change at the Board level too.

Daniel Vokey with the South Shore chapter of the Council of Canadians after an event organized by the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia, January 2017

For more information about the Offshore in NS and NL (Atlantic and Gulf of St. Lawrence), search our blogs.