The draft report of the Western Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Update Draft Report was released by AMEC on June 21st, and is available for public comment until Sept. 27th. We reported earlier on the round of public “consultations” conducted by AMEC – a consulting firm that is very active in the oil and gas sector.
AMEC’s final report will be a tool for the C-NLOPB to evaluate if they should or not go ahead in issuing offshore exploration licenses in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (including the offshore portion of onshore-to-offshore drilling operations) and if so, what should be required mitigation measures.
Groups around the Gulf are already responding to this deeply flawed report. See a PEIslander’s response here and the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition response here.
We agree with the St. Lawrence Coalition’s statement that it is important to tell the C-NLOPB that:
1) Even if it is weak and incomplete, AMEC’s report still contains enough elements to tell the C-NLOPB that oil and gas activities should not be allowed in Newfoundland’s part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence:
a. The draft report shows a complete lack of social acceptability in all five Gulf provinces;
b. Newfoundland’s part of the Gulf has many sensitive and unique sectors, vital to the Gulf ecosystem’s health;
c. Knowledge gaps are important;
d. Fisheries and tourism are very important and show that cohabitation with oil and gas activities would be very difficult;
e. The draft report says that the efficiency of proposed mitigation measures is not proven.
2) Notwithstanding the preceding points, AMEC’s report is weak in many aspects and is not adequate to serve as a decision tool for the C-NLOPB:
a. Comments and briefs presented by the public in the Fall 2012 were not correctly addressed and integrated in the draft report;
b. Impacts and risks of offshore oil and gas activities as well as hydraulic fracturing have been minimized throughout the report;
c. Economic importance of fisheries and tourism are greater than shown in the draft report;
d. Mitigation measures proposed by AMEC are weak and intervention capacity in case of oil spill are clearly inadequate, etc.