For immediate release
June 18, 2019
NDP renews call for Independent Offshore Safety and Environmental Authority, raises concerns about effects of seismic testing
For the last two days in the House of Assembly, the NDP Caucus has been questioning government on effective environmental protection in the offshore.
NDP Leader Alison Coffin (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) says government wants to embark on deep water drilling far offshore in harsh environments, where an oil spill will be nearly impossible to clean up.
“We have an independent federal-provincial environmental assessment process, but government wants the C-NLOPB – the industry regulator – to take it over because it will be quicker,” said Coffin in Question Period.
“I ask the Premier, why would he compromise environmental assessment and put marine life at risk for the sake of expediency?”
Coffin says the C-NLOPB regulates and works with industry, it helps industry in all the stages of development, but it is also supposed to protect oil workers and the environment.
“The near-miss with an iceberg, the 200,000 litres of oil spilled, and the die-out of seabirds, would not have happened with tougher regulations and monitoring,” said Coffin. “I ask the Premier, why does government consistently refuse to consider an independent offshore environment and safety authority – like Norway’s – as recommended by Justice Wells in his offshore helicopter safety report?”
NDP Environment Critic James Dinn (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says it has been months since the Husky SeaRose oil spill, the worst in the history of our offshore. In March, Husky gave the C-NLOPB a preliminary report, which the offshore board has not released.
“I ask the Minister of Natural Resources, how long will the public have to wait to find out what happened?” Dinn said.
Dinn says, yesterday the Minister referred to seismic exploration as less impactful but there is evidence that these loud signals are harming plankton and other species.
Government just announced a 3-D seismic survey off Labrador.
“I ask the Minister does she think the people of Labrador would not want an environmental assessment of 3-D seismic testing when it could have negative impacts on salmon and other at-risk species?” Dinn said.
For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), 693-9172 (c), or firstname.lastname@example.org.