With BP and Equinor’s departure, no remaining offshore exploration in Nova Scotia

Offshore Alliance calls for province to formalize the end of fossil fuel industry in Nova Scotia.

For Immediate Release: January 18th, 2022

The Offshore Alliance, a coalition of 18 community, fishing and environmental organizations is celebrating today as BP and Equinor abandoned the last remaining oil leases offshore Nova Scotia. In light of the need for all new fossil fuel projects to be abandoned to protect a safe climate, the Offshore Alliance is calling on all political parties to support a new era and commit to end to new oil drilling off Nova Scotia, stop all subsidies for oil and gas, and create a lasting moratorium on oil drilling on Georges Bank.

“This welcome news affirms that there’s no future in fossil fuels, and it’s time for the province to formally close the door on fossil fuel exploration in Nova Scotia,” says Robin Tress, Climate and Social Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “There hasn’t been any new interest in our offshore in four years and now all existing projects are gone, but the province paradoxically continues to invest in offshore oil exploration with millions in research funding. With so many budgetary and environmental pressures facing our communities, it’s irresponsible to continue spending public dollars on an industry that is giving us worse than nothing – it’s giving us the climate crisis.”

The Alliance notes that in addition to climate risks, there are direct threats to sustainable; coastal communities from oil drilling. In 2018, just three months after they were given the green light to start drilling by the CNSOPB, the company spilled 136,000 litres of toxic drilling mud onto fishing grounds. In 2016, two kilometres pipe dripping to the ocean floor brought us within metres of a blowout. Nova Scotia will also be heavily hit by coastal flooding and other climate impacts such as increased cases of Lyme disease.

“The fishing community is aware of and alarmed at the threat of climate change. And we know oil drilling directly threatens ocean life and the fishery. As the last oil companies leave the province’s offshore , it’s time for political leaders to realize there is nothing to gain from continuing to promote this industry. A good start would be committing to end the $11.8 million government subsidy to offshore oil and closing the provincial Petroleum Program in the upcoming budget.” according to John Davis of the Clean Ocean Action Committee. “The world requires high quality protein energy; we do not require more hydrocarbons for burning.”

“There is simply no place for new oil drilling projects in a safe climate world,” states Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation. “We are relieved to see the industry understands there is no viable path to developing projects in Nova Scotia. Now, we want political leaders to understand this too and stand up to fossil fuel industry and shift limited government resources where they are most needed: to address the climate emergency, support upskilling for workers and the move towards renewables.”


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