Ecology Action Centre Challenges NS Offshore Oil Boards’ Ok to Shell Offshore Drilling

6 07 2015

Ecology Action Centre pans board’s power to approve offshore projects

[Shell’s offshore drilling plans are a direct tie-in to the Energy East Pipeline and the anticipated increase in the petroleum industry in Atlantic Canada.—Editor]

Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board too cosy with industry: centre

CBC News Posted: Jul 06, 2015 12:38 PM AT Last Updated: Jul 06, 2015 12:38 PM AT

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New regulations have given the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board the responsibility of conducting environmental assessments of new offshore energy projects. (CBC)

New rules that give more power to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board may not be good for Nova Scotians, the Ecology Action Centre says.

“In our view, it creates a conflict of interest. The agency has a quasi-promotional role,” Mark Butler, policy director at the Ecology Action Centre, told CBC’s Information Morning on Monday.

The rules took effect last week.

“Most of the staff working for the board have an oil and gas background and work daily with the oil and gas industry. They’re really close. ”

He also questioned the board’s ability to conduct an effective environmental assessment.

“They don’t have many folks in the board with a science or ecology background. So along with a conflict of interest, do they have the capacity to assess all the impacts we would raise on the ecosystem out there, on the fishery?”

A statement issued by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board said the process won’t change. It says the board will follow an environmental assessment process which includes consulting aboriginal groups and seeking public involvement.

But Butler said the outcome cannot help but be influenced by the federal government’s agenda, which is to streamline resource development and to get more projects through environmental assessments.

“What we really need is a total overhaul of the entire process. The whole purpose of environmental assessments is so we didn’t build things like Boat Harbour and the Sydney Tar Ponds, that we did good environmental planning. I think we’ve lost sight of that.”

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