Gulf of St. Lawrence is no place to drill for oil

Gulf of St. Lawrence is no place to drill for oil by Farley Mowat, October 26, 2012, The Toronto Star
A dire filth now threatens the Gulf of St. Lawrence — a semi-enclosed sea that we must not open up to oil and gas drilling. Our gulf’s relative confinement and strong Atlantic winds make it more risky for drilling even than the Gulf of Mexico. However, seismic testing in preparation for drilling has taken place there with the active encouragement of both federal and provincial governments, who are supposedly the watchdogs protecting Canada’s oceanic environment from destructive exploitation.

It is scandalous that the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board is opening up more and more “parcels” in the gulf for oil extraction despite the fearful risks involved. One such site, currently in the hands of Corridor Resources Inc., involves drilling a deep-water well comparable to British Petroleum’s Horizon well, made infamous by the enormous spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Since that disaster took place, there has been no technological innovation which could secure the Gulf of St. Lawrence against the risk of just such a spill, nor are federal and provincial governments even requiring assurances against the repetition of such a colossal disaster.

Taking into consideration the counter-clockwise currents and the Gulf of St. Lawrence’s relatively greater enclosure (though smaller area) than the Gulf of Mexico, a spill on the scale of the Horizon debacle would inflict almost unimaginable damage upon our gulf and its entire ecosystem. What kind of insane hubris is it that makes us think we can prevent such a devastation? Perhaps it is more than coincidence that the site chosen for the first well has been named the Old Harry Site . . . for Old Harry is actually a synonym for the devil himself.

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