Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From sea to sheening sea

The following headline appeared this past Friday (May 11th) in British Columbia’s Victoria Times Colonist:

April unemployment rates: B.C. 7.3%, Newfoundland 15%

NL may be a have and happening province, but we’re also still known from sea to shining sea for our unemployment rate — the highest of Canadian provinces.

FYI — PEI has the second highest unemployment rate, at 9.5 per cent.

If not for the oil industry, NL would be in sad fiscal shape.

A basket case.

Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale acknowledged as much herself.

Here’s a Monday (May 10th) headline from Nova Scotia’s Pictou County News:

Oil industry too critical to N.L. to suspend deep offshore exploration: minister

Too critical to risk poisoning the sea that sustains us?

Too critical to risk what few Atlantic cod are left?

That's the same species of fish that scientists, as recently as two weeks ago, were trying to have declared "endangered."

Would an oil spill push the poor cod over the edge?

The question must be asked whether economic desperation is causing the Danny Williams government to make reckless decisions?
•••
Chrevron has started work on a well 2.6-kilometres under water in an area known as the Orphan Basin, about 400 kilometres northeast of St. John’s.

That’s almost a kilometer deeper than the well that broke recently in the Gulf of Mexico, spilling 5,000 barrels of oil a day.

The Williams government fends off concerns about oil spill technology at deep-sea depths — even as it vows to independently review emergency procedures.

Which is strange.

According to the media, Dunderdale says the rig that’s drilling off Newfoundland is equipped with three backup systems — an acoustic switch to close down a blown well, a remotely operated vehicle to help shut down leaks, and two ramp stacks that could help block gushing oil.

Failing those, Dunderdale said a relief well could be drilled.

Only that could take up to five months.

Just like it may take months to shut down the leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Gulf is being poisoned with 5,000 barrels of oil a day.

The Gulf sea no longer has a shine, so much as a sheen.
•••
The Gulf of Mexico disaster is apparently causing the B.C. government to rethink its efforts to have a moratorium lifted on offshore drilling.

Ottawa instituted the ban on drilling off British Columbia's coast in the 1970s to stop a small amount of exploration in environmentally sensitive waters.

I wonder, can you get any more environmentally sensitive than the waters off Newfoundland?

“This is not about extracting resources at any cost,” B.C. Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom was quoted in The Globe and Mail.

Tell that to Danny Williams et al.

1 comment:

George said...

I curse the day we ever became an oil province. We've lost touch with who we are supposed to be, rather than the drillers of oil and the ultimate top-up to the provincial treasury.
Why is it that we can't use the basis of the fishery and forestry and mining sectors to become a "have" province?
Why is it that the stuff we use to cook food means more to us than the food itself?

The government NOW is making oil money the answer to all our woes and that's the big mistake in all this, taking all the rest for granted.