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Is Nothing Sacred? Offshore Alliance demands Sable Island oil leases be cancelled

As the 193 countries currently participating in the UN climate change conference in Poland struggle to draft a survival plan for life on Earth, the Offshore Alliance is calling for the newly advertized offshore oil and gas leases surrounding Sable Island National Park Reserve to be cancelled. 

The Offshore Alliance, a coalition of fishers, tourism operators, scientists, communities and environmental organizations, believe this ill-timed and cynical move by the CNSOPB is clear evidence of the urgent need for an immediate moratorium and full public inquiry into offshore drilling in Nova Scotia’s waters.

“This treasured island, surrounded by some of the most prolific fishing grounds on earth, backbone of our economy, is iconic for all Canadians.  It cannot be put in jeopardy.  The risks must be openly examined and discussed,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Sierra Club Foundation.  John Davis of the 9,000-strong Clean Ocean Action Committee adds, “We know from experience that the Sable Basin lies on high pressure formations.  There’s a history of uncontrollable blowouts.  With the offshore industry’s outrageous track record – especially in recent months- surely an Offshore Inquiry is required.” 

“Enough with closed door decisions made by an industry coterie that defy logic and common sense and put our livelihoods, indeed our very lives at risk,” says Mary Gorman of the Gulf of St. Lawrence’s Save our Seas and Shores Coalition. 

“This new lease announcement is just another brick in the mile-high wall of evidence showing that the offshore petroleum boards are operating in favour of the fossil fuel industry, not in favour of the greater public good,” says Marilyn Keddy from the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia. “The degree of industry infiltration in our democracy – all the way into our National Parks Act – is disgraceful and worthy of investigation through a public inquiry.”

Last year there was the infamous ‘near miss’ as an iceberg nearly took out Husky’s Sea Rose platform.  Last June BP hadn’t even drilled their first exploratory well when it accidentally spilled 136 000 liters of irretrievable drilling mud into the sea.  Last month, there was another Husky Sea Rose incident – a quarter of a million liters of crude spilled into heavy seas with no way to retrieve it, much less contain it.  In this accident-prone context, before COP24 even wraps in Katowice, Poland, the CNSOPB advertises its ill-advised auction for drilling rights around and under Sable Island, a National Park Reserve. 

More than 60,000 people so far have signed a petition calling for the federal government to implement a moratorium and inquiry into offshore drilling.  The Offshore Alliance will deliver that petition today to Halifax- Sable Island MP Andy Fillmore’s office following the news conference. 


For more information, please contact:

Robin Tress, Council of Canadians


(902) 223-8526