Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Deafening Silence on Gulf Drilling

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Deafening Silence on Gulf Drilling

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Deafening silence on Gulf drilling

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An editorial from the Charlottetown Guardian, published June 17:

It's very surprising there has been little in the way of "official" reaction thus far to an April report that gives the green light to exploration and drilling for oil and gas off the western coast of Newfoundland. The report, commissioned by the Canada - Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, says there are significant environmental risks but those are insufficient to halt drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Apart from a number of environmental groups trying to draw attention to this announcement, reaction has been muted from Atlantic governments or major municipalities. There were attempts to get the issue on the agenda when Atlantic premiers met recently in New Brunswick -- to no avail. There was hope the matter might at least be discussed informally but there was no apparent mention in any communiques.

The CNLOPB report got scant coverage in regional media. It's almost as if few people are taking the report seriously. The Newfoundland and Labrador government is already heavily engaged in deep ocean drilling -- much to its immense economic benefit - and perhaps doesn't see the big concern with drilling in the shallower and more contained Gulf off its west coast.

It's that containment which should be striking fear and concern into provinces bordering the Gulf. An oil spill will have nowhere to go except onto our shores and beaches and into our harbours. It might not seem like a big deal for the N.L. government but it should be a very big deal for Quebec (Iles-de-la-Madeleine), P.E.I., N.B. and N.S. should there be a major spill.

It's even more surprising how the Canada - N.L. board could make such a critically important decision without input from provinces which will be directly affected by any oil spills. …

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