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McKenna Approves Drilling Permits Off Nova Scotia Coast

Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna has approved BP Canada’s plan to drill up to seven offshore exploration wells in the Scotian Basin southeast of Nova Scotia, after concluding the activity “is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects,” according to a federal news advisory last week.

The wells would be located 230 to 370 kilometres southeast of Halifax, and would be drilled between 2018 and 2022. The drilling is still subject to regulatory approval.

“Our communities rely on fisheries and coastal tourism for our livelihoods and economies, and offshore drilling puts it all at risk,” said Marion Moore, chair of the Council of Canadians’ Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia. “We’re fighting to keep offshore drilling out of Nova Scotia and protect the coasts and our communities from the devastation people continue to experience in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010.”

In a draft report from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, it was suggested BP Canada would have to take measures to avoid collisions with marine mammals, birds and other species, such as avoiding the habitat of the endangered North Atlantic right whale, as well as consult with Indigenous communities and commercial fisheries,” the Chronicle Herald notes. “As part of the environmental assessment decision, McKenna said BP will have to adhere to legally binding conditions that will reduce or eliminate the potential environmental effects of drilling in the area.