The federal-provincial agency that regulates oil activity off Newfoundland is mulling changes to required oil spill plans as newly released documents raise safety questions, wrote The Canadian Press July 27:
[The documents] include plans for Chevron Canada as it drills the country's deepest exploration well in 2,600 metres of water, about 425 kilometres northeast of St. John's.
Critics have raised concerns that Chevron only projected how an oil slick originating on the surface would spread. There were no such models done for a deepsea blowout such as the April 20 explosion on a BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and spewed up to 700 million litres of crude into the sea.
Biologist and researcher Gail Fraser of York University in Toronto is among those calling for better regulation and updated oil spill plans from offshore operators.
The repeated failure of efforts to cap the gusher in the Gulf exposed the limits of existing technology, she said. “I think Canadians really need to consider what is the worst-case scenario and ask themselves, ‘Is that tolerable? Are we willing to put up with that?’ Because we’ve seen now what the worst-case scenario is in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We really need to be thinking very hard and asking our governments: Are we doing our best at protecting ocean ecosystems? I would say we’re not even close.”
Fraser, a professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, also spoke about the concerns over deepsea oil spills, on radio stations in Belleville,Ont.; Saskatoon, Sask.; and Gander and St. John’s, Nfld. July 26. She has been a vocal critic of Chevron Canada's plans for several months.
Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.