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Offshore Alliance calls for a Federal/Provincial public inquiry into marine oil exploration


K’JIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – The Offshore Alliance, a coalition of fisher, social justice and environmental organizations, communities and individuals who have concerns with offshore drilling in Nova Scotia, is calling for a moratorium on offshore drilling pending a full federal/provincial public inquiry. The Alliance says the current regulatory regime in the offshore lacks both scientific and democratic legitimacy.


“Nova Scotians have been kept in the dark about the impact and risks of deepwater exploration and drilling for oil in our offshore,” says Peter Puxley, a founding member of Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS). “A thorough and credible investigation by a panel of experts is the only way to rectify this. The panel’s recommendations must be based on the best science available and broad and informed public participation.”


While Nova Scotia created an independent panel on fracking onshore, it has never had a parallel study of oil exploration and drilling offshore where much more is at stake. The Offshore Alliance says it’s time to correct that gap in public knowledge.


“The BP drilling mud spill on June 22nd only underlines the recklessness of continuing without a full public inquiry,” says John Davis, Director of the Clean Ocean Action Committee (COAC), whose members include fish plant owners, processors and fishermens’ organizations in southwestern NS. “The last public inquiry to seriously engage the public was the federal/provincial Georges Bank Review Panel more than two decades ago. Thanks to its work we have a permanent moratorium on drilling on the Canadian side of Georges.  Given the massive threat to our fishery and tourism industries, indeed the very economic base of much of the province, we can’t afford anything less.”


“The risk to endangered whales and other marine species due to poor review and regulation is truly alarming. If we are have to credible assessment and regulations – not to mention tackle climate change – we are going to take a serious look at offshore oil and gas,” according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director of Sierra Club Canada Foundation. “We are calling for a public inquiry to ensure that the real risk of this industry to our oceans and climate are fairly and scientifically evaluated.”


The Offshore Alliance has sent a letter to the Prime Minister, along with the Premier of NS and relevant cabinet ministers, calling for this public inquiry to take place immediately, since the work offshore is already on pause after the recent BP spill.


For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:

Peter Puxley, Founding Member, Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia, 902-514-3725,

Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Toll-free:

1.888.810.4204, Direct Line: 902.444.7096,