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Demand That Environmental Assessments Be Carried Out For Offshore Drilling and Seismic Surveys

We can't allow this to happen in the Gulf of St-Lawrence.  Photo: New York Times.

We can’t allow this to happen in the Gulf of St-Lawrence. Photo: New York Times.

Did you know that the two worst accidents to ever occur on an offshore platform occurred while drilling exploratory wells? (An exploratory well is “a deep hole, in the earth, that a petroleum or natural gas company drills in the hopes of locating a new source of fossil fuel”.)  The Deepwater Horizon accident of 2010 (pictured above) and the Ixtoc I accident of 1979-1980 both occurred while drilling exploratory well.  Not while actually getting oil out of the ground.  In fact,

Drilling the first exploratory well on a geological structure is the most hazardous activity during the hydrocarbon development process. A major well blowout is more likely at this time than any other. (Porta and Bankes, 2011)

Despite these facts, our federal government, through Bill C-38, has removed the need for any environmental assessment before the drilling of exploratory wells!  Luckily, there is still time to tell our elected officials that this is unacceptable.  Below is a letter from the St-Lawrence Coalition with links and instructions on how you can have your say regarding environmental assessments of offshore drilling and seismic surveys.

We need all the voices we can get.  And we only have until August 24th, 2012, to have our voices heard.


We must demand that environmental evaluations be carried out for any offshore drilling and for any seismic profiling surveys!!!

URGENT: On-line consultation until August 24th, 2012

Dear members, partners and friends,

Several people have asked us what they can do to play an active role in influencing the course of events. Now is the time to act and to demand that any exploratory marine drilling and seismic profiling surveys be once more made subject to environmental evaluation as prescribed in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).

We remind you that the CEAA has been modified and that exploratory drilling and seismic profiling surveys in marine environments (including the Gulf of St. Lawrence) will no longer be subject to an environmental evaluation as stipulated in this federal law. This decision is completely unacceptable when one considers the enormous environmental impact of the drilling and the seismic surveys as well as the numerous concerns expressed in recent times by the public in reaction to hydrocarbon exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

We must, at all costs, work to reverse the Harper government decision. We can do it by participating in very large numbers in the on-line consultation that ends on August 24th, 2012.

We inform you that an exception was made for the Old Harry drilling project and that the environmental evaluation is actually proceeding in conformity with the previous rules of the CEAA.

How to participate:

  • To help you, the St. Lawrence Coalition has prepared two documents which you can use as you see fit: the brief of the St. Lawrence Coalition (providing more detailed arguments) and a mini-brief in brochure form that only requires you to add your name, address and email. All the instructions for sending the mini-brief are included.
  • Send your comments without fail before August 24th, 2012.
  • Spread this call for action in your network, on your web site, on Facebook, etc.! We know that the number of briefs can really influence the decision.

For more information concerning  the changes made in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) see the document of analysis prepared by the St. Lawrence Coalition. See also the backgrounder produced by Ecojustice (in English only).

More than ever, we need you!


Danielle and all the team: Sylvain, Karel, Jean-Patrick, Christian, Jérôme and Patrick
Danielle Giroux
St. Lawrence Coalition

Attention FragÎles

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