OPEN LETTER on Bill C-69 and the Role of Offshore Petroleum Boards

June 13, 2019 Dear Ministers McKenna, Sohi, and Wilkinson, The new Impact Assessment Act, Bill C69, will make environmental assessments for offshore oil and gas activities in Atlantic Canada have even less credibility than they do now. The draft amendments to the bill introduced in the House of Commons on June 12 will allow offshore petroleum boards to chair review panels that will assess offshore oil and gas projects. The Newfoundland and Labrador government has proposed to expand its offshore oil and gas industry immensely over the next ten years, and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with its anticipated production would contribute nearly 10% of the global carbon budget that would keep us within the safe limit of 1.5 degree Celsius of warming. Under Bill C-69, impacts of seismic blasting on marine life and risks of oil spills associated with the planned 100 new exploratory wells and subsequent production drilling will get even less scrutiny than they do today.  Scientists, fishing organizations, indigenous leaders, environmental groups and coastal residents have called for this bill to be fixed. Please work with your parliamentary colleagues to ensure offshore boards cannot chair review panels before Bill C-69 receives its final reading in the House of Commons. Sincerely,Dr. Brett Favaro, Research Scientist, Memorial University of NewfoundlandDr. Gail Fraser, Associate Professor, York UniversityLeah Fusco, Executive Committee, Sierra Club Canada Foundation – Atlantic Canada ChapterDr. Bill Montevecchi, John Lewis Paton Distinguished University Professor, Memorial University of NewfoundlandKeith Sullivan, President FFAW-Unifor