(Ottawa) The Sierra Club of Canada has written Ministers Herb Dhaliwal and Gordon Balser to urge them to rein in the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB). The Board has determined to proceed with evaluation of the proposed oil and gas activities in Atlantic Canadas most valuable fishery and has departed from the recommendations of the Public Review by appointing representatives of the proponent oil and gas companies to the advisory working group.
In a letter to both ministers, Sierra Club of Canada Executive Director Elizabeth May wrote to express outrage at the high-handed way in which the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board has re-designed the proposed process resulting from the public review chaired by Commissioner Teresa McNeil.
The change in the composition of the advisory group would assure the industry a majority of participants. The recommendations of Commissioner McNeil created a more balanced group without an obvious bias in either direction.
The problems with CNSOPBs proposed working group go way beyond the arithmetic, said Elizabeth May. Having never understood the concept of conflict of interest, it perhaps should not be a surprise that the Board thinks it is appropriate to place the proponent on the working group advising government. Hunt Oil and Corridor Resources were not given a seat at the table by Commissioner McNeil, but the CNSOPB has ignored that clear signal and added them to the group.
It is unclear at this point whether any environmental groups will consider participating. As Paul Martin noted recently, we need to reflect on our options, said Ms. May. In the meantime, we call on Ministers Dhaliwal and Balser to correct this outrageous lapse in judgement.