Posted by: Vicki Burns | June 25, 2010

Offshore Drilling in Canada’s Waters – Are We Protected From an Environmental Disaster?

The BP oil spill that is still occurring in the Gulf of Mexico has caused many people to question our preparedness for an environmental accident like this. Our confidence in the emergency response planning process has justifiably been shaken. 

Is it not prudent to halt any future off shore drilling for oil unless we can be sure that it is possible to develop a thorough plan should such a disaster occur in Canadian waters? I wrote to several members of parliament recently asking them to offer more protection to Canada’s oceans and was disappointed to get a very simplistic response from M.P. Randy Kamp, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. 

Mr. Kamp stated “Natural Resources Canada is responsible for ensuring oil drilling platforms have appropriate response plans, and I can assure you that our Government has effective response mechanisms and safeguards in place in the unlikely and unfortunate event of a spill. The Canadian Coast Guard and other government agencies are well equipped to deal with any environmental event in our waters.” 

image of man leaning over the edge of the boat to collect sample of oil in the water

Biologist taking oil sample from Gulf of Mexico, photo credit Kate Davison/Greenpeace

 

If our coast guard and other government agencies are well equipped to deal with an environmental event like this, why are they not offering help to our American neighbours in the Gulf of Mexico? I have written back to Mr. Kamp asking this question and for more details about our Canadian safeguards . I’ll keep you posted on his response.

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