OTTAWA – MP Ryan Cleary (St. John’s South-Mount Pearl) is calling on the Canada- Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) and its new chair, Ed Drover, to follow through on a recommendation for a separate independent safety regulator for the offshore.
Justice Robert Wells has described the need for an independent safety regulator as the most important recommendation from his inquiry into the March 2009 crash of Cougar Helicopters Flight 491 that killed 17 people. Justice Wells reiterated that stand this week in media interviews.
“It’s been over three years since the crash of Cougar 491 and we’re still waiting for the federal Conservatives and the C-NLOPB to act on this recommendation — shameful,” says Cleary. “Max Ruelokke has said there’s no need for an independent safety regulator, and for that reason I’m glad he’s the outgoing chair. Let’s hope Ed Drover sees things differently.”
Cleary says the C-NLOPB is in a conflict of interest. The board is responsible for leasing parcels of offshore land to oil companies for development and for overseeing the industry in general, while also acting as stewards for the environment and safety.
“The C-NLOPB can’t represent all aspects of the offshore and represent all interests fairly,” says Cleary.
Max Ruelokke’s term as chair of the C-NLOPB expired Thursday (Oct. 25) and he was replaced by businessman Ed Drover. Ruelokke will stay on as acting CEO.
"Like all Canadians, oil platform workers deserve safety on the job and when they commute," NDP Transport Critic Olivia Chow added. "With the Conservative Minister unwilling to do his job, it's the C-NLOPB that has to act now."
“I hope Mr. Drover will push the federal government for a separate safety body,” says Cleary. “The safety of workers in Newfoundland and Labrador depends on it.”