“A dire filth now threatens the Gulf of St. Lawrence” – Read Farley Mowat’s OpEd (Toronto Star)

Farley Mowat and Mary Gorman

(Photo: CineFocus Canada) Farley Mowat and Mary Gorman in the Mowat home, Cape Breton Island, NS.

Farley Mowat is an ardent defender of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We are greatly honoured to have his support!

Gulf of St. Lawrence is no place to drill for oil

Friday October 26, 2012
Toronto Star
Farley Mowat

A dire filth now threatens the Gulf of St. Lawrence — a semi-enclosed sea that we must not open up to oil and gas drilling. Our gulf’s relative confinement and strong Atlantic winds make it more risky for drilling even than the Gulf of Mexico. However, seismic testing in preparation for drilling has taken place there with the active encouragement of both federal and provincial governments, who are supposedly the watchdogs protecting Canada’s oceanic environment from destructive exploitation.

It is scandalous that the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board is opening up more and more “parcels” in the gulf for oil extraction despite the fearful risks involved. One such site, currently in the hands of Corridor Resources Inc., involves drilling a deep-water well comparable to British Petroleum’s Horizon well, made infamous by the enormous spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Since that disaster took place, there has been no technological innovation which could secure the Gulf of St. Lawrence against the risk of just such a spill, nor are federal and provincial governments even requiring assurances against the repetition of such a colossal disaster.

Taking into consideration the counter-clockwise currents and the Gulf of St. Lawrence’s relatively greater enclosure (though smaller area) than the Gulf of Mexico, a spill on the scale of the Horizon debacle would inflict almost unimaginable damage upon our gulf and its entire ecosystem.

What kind of insane hubris is it that makes us think we can prevent such a devastation? Perhaps it is more than coincidence that the site chosen for the first well has been named the Old Harry Site . . . for Old Harry is actually a synonym for the devil himself.

To allow the untrammeled exploitation, or indeed any significant exploitation of gas and oil potential in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is, in my opinion, environmental madness. It may well also be homicidal madness for people on the adjacent lands.

Farley Mowat is the author of 44 books, most recently Eastern Passage, published in 2010.

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