Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition Calls for Immediate Arms-Length Regulation to Protect Environment

  Save Our Seas and Shores FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 14, 2010

Halifax, NS – A coalition of environmental, First Nations and inshore fisheries organizations is calling on the Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and federal governments to act immediately on the Wells Inquiry recommendation that arms-length regulation is needed to protect the environment and safety of workers in the offshore.

The Wells Commission was established by the Newfoundland and Labrador government to review safety in the offshore after the tragic crash of a helicopter on March 12, 2009, resulting in the loss of seventeen lives.

“Right now, we continue to fight to keep oil and gas out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We believe that no regulator who put safety and the environment first would ever allow oil in the Gulf: it’s simply not worth the risk,” say Mary Gorman of the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition. “Lives have been lost. Let’s learn from our mistakes.”

“This review points to flaws in our regulatory process that make the regulators of the offshore its promoters,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director of Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter, “We need to separate these two conflicting roles before another tragedy occurs.”

“Having participated in offshore oil and gas assessments for fifteen years, I know of only two cases where charges have been laid for spills off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland – in spite of frequent spills of oil and toxic drilling muds.” says Mark Butler, Policy Director of the Ecology Action Centre. “This type of cosy relationship with industry is what led to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”

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For more information, please contact: Mary Gorman, Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition, 902-926-2128 Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director, Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter, 902-444-3113

Mark Butler, Policy Director, Ecology Action Centre, 902-429-5287