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Complacency on drilling

Canada
The Toronto Star
22/08/2010

It’s hard to feel reassured by a Senate committee that set out to study our offshore drilling regime — after the BP oil disaster — and then announced that Canada is virtually faultless. But it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, given the committee’s stated objectives.

“The purpose of our study was to allay the fears of Canadians,” proclaimed the committee’s Conservative chairman, David Angus.

If one sets out to allay fears, the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Little wonder Angus blithely announced that drilling off Canada’s East Coast is undergoing “very careful supervision and so forth.”

And so forth?

“Canadians should be quite comfortable with the state of play,” Angus said, echoing the report’s conclusion that the industry “is in good hands.”

Pro-drilling politicians in the U.S. sang the same complacent tune in the years before the the BP blowout gushed as much as 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But when the Canadian Senators assessed the sole deepwater exploration rig off Canada’s East Coast, they echoed the American refrain.

No matter that the new Chevron rig is 2.6 kilometres deep — a full kilometre deeper than the BP rig. The committee drew comfort from Chevron’s reassurance that any spill would cause minimal damage to any ecologically sensitive fishing grounds — because it is 430 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland.

“The escaping crude will disperse, probably without ever affecting any sensitive areas,” Angus said confidently.

Industry watchdogs are calling the report a whitewash because it listened to all the big oil industry representatives and regulators, while hearing only from the World Wildlife Fund, which calls the final report “a scandal.”

The committee did recommend the obvious — lifting a paltry liability cap of $30 million on offshore operators. But its gushing embrace of the industry’s view — “over-regulation and excessively rigid safety requirements could potentially discourage the petroleum industry” — is over the top.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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