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Unwelcome party for BP responds to imminent plans for Nova Scotia offshore drilling

What: With news that the BP-commissioned West Aquarius rig is in en route to Nova Scotian waters in preparation for offshore drilling, Nova Scotians are headed to BP’s office to let them know they are not welcome. The ‘unwelcoming’ party will feature some short statements and compelling visuals.

When: Wednesday, April 11, 1:00 p.m. AT

Where: Gathering outside Founder’s Square, BP’s Halifax office (1701 Hollis Street)

Why: The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) just approved the West Aquarius rig entering Nova Scotia waters. The rig was on the move even prior to receiving this approval, underscoring concerns with regulatory capture and CNSOPB’s conflicting mandate to both promote the oil and gas industry and protect the marine environment.

Many residents, fishers, and tourism operators were not aware of the federal environmental review of BP’s proposal to drill up to seven exploratory wells and are now expressing alarm at the federal approval of the project despite the significant risk it presents to sustainable jobs in fishing and tourism, marine waters, and our climate.

The recent CNSOPB approval came shortly after a well-received coastal speakers’ tour on the risks presented by the BP proposal. The tour underscored numerous concerns drawing on the experiences of the BP Gulf Coast spill, including the lack of a capping stack onsite (the closest one is almost two weeks away in Norway) and there not being a requirement to drill pre-emptive relief wells. Critics further note the proximity of drilling to Scotian Shelf fishing waters, Sable Island and the Gully Marine Protected area.

Who: The Council of Canadians is organizing the unwelcome party along with the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia (CPONS) and will be joined by fishers, tourism operators, and treaty rights holders.