November 5, 2019
This afternoon in advance of the start of the Federation of Nova Scotia Municipalities fall conference in Halifax, several south shore and west nova municipalities gathered to call on the Federal and Provincial governments to initiate a public inquiry into offshore drilling.
“Mahone Bay is a town driven by our tourism industry. Any risk to that mainstay – and offshore drilling is a big risk – is unacceptable to us. Our town council has called for a moratorium and inquiry on offshore drilling because we heard from our residents that this was a big concern for them, and municipalities need to be the voice of the people,” says David Devenne, mayor of Mahone Bay.
Tourism is a vital industry to Nova Scotia’s coastal communities, as is the fishery. These are the backbone of rural Nova Scotia’s economy, as well as the province overall - a fact often forgotten by the Provincial government who has been investing public dollars in offshore potential for decades.
Linda Gregory, Deputy Warden of Digby County, says, “Digby County is built on the fishery - we can’t let anything jeopardize that. As a council we have a responsibility to our communities to protect their interests, and to do that we need good information and real access to decision making structures. Right now, we have neither. That’s why we need a public inquiry on offshore drilling.”
“This is a significant milestone for Nova Scotia,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald of Sierra Club Canada Foundation. “A quarter of Nova Scotia’s municipalities and towns, representing communities across the Southwest Nova fisheries, have called for this inquiry. We’re grateful for the leadership of these municipal governments. They are the voice of the people on ocean protection and climate action. We’re looking forward to announcing more municipalities calling for an inquiry!”
The Offshore Alliance* is organizing a series of events this week, including a public event Friday evening in Mahone Bay with municipal representatives from the East Coast of the United States: Sheila Davies, Mayor of Kill Devil Hills, NC, and Councillor John Weber, Bradley Beach, NJ. Mr. Weber also works with the Surfrider Foundation.
* The Nova Scotia Offshore Alliance is a growing coalition of concerned organizations, communities, and individuals determined to change the industry-captive regulatory regime which currently governs our offshore oil and gas industry. To accomplish this, we demand an immediate moratorium on all exploration and production drilling off our coasts and a full public inquiry.