Online edition of Shunpiking
Thursday, Jan 01, 2004
Seismic Vibes

"Consultation" -- a "waste of time"

No more window dressing

By Jeff Brownstein*

The Corridor application should not have been approved!

Despite what the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) has said earlier, neither the Ad Hoc Group nor the Science Review Group actually agreed that it was safe to go ahead in the areas of the Hunt and Corridor leases.

The Environmental Areas (EAs) were never actually reviewed by the Ad Hoc nor the Science Review groups. The only real reviews the EAs had in the past were done by DFO; and then the EAs were given failing grades.

Despite all the money spent and time and effort expended by so many -- some of us as volunteers -- the whole exercise turned out to be a waste of time. The CNSOPB wanted to ensure that their original granting of these leases, without previous consultation or proper environmental assessment, remained unchallenged. Everything since has been nothing more than window-dressing, as are the conditions the board gave for these activities to proceed.

Indeed, two of the members of the Science Review Group, Dr. Loucks and Dr. Kenchington, have recently come out publicly stating that not enough is known, and there could be serious damage done to the creatures who live in these sensitive and highly productive, areas. They are saying that this application should not go ahead!

The crab study was not very conclusive either. It really begged for a lot more study to be done.

The only way to treat these areas responsibly would be either to not allow exploration in areas where the fishery is so intense, in waters that are so sensitive -- as on George's Bank (what will happen on Brown's Bank!) or, at the very least, conduct a complete strategic environmental assessment on these areas before any more thought of any exploration activity in these areas. No more window-dressing. Either do it right, or leave these areas alone.

*Jeff Brownstein is president, local 6, Maritime Fishermen's Union, Baddeck, Cape Breton