A report released today by the Pew Environment Group concludes that Canada’s system of regulating and licensing offshore oil and gas development requires major reforms to create an Arctic-ready future to protect this region and its people from environmental harm.
The Pew report identifies significant gaps throughout the Canadian government’s process of Arctic offshore licensing and regulation and provides an 11-step program of policy reforms. The report’s analysis comes at a critical time because Canada is on the verge of approving its first deepwater oil and gas development in the Arctic. The drilling of exploration wells is the riskiest part of such activities, because catastrophic blowouts such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are most likely to occur during this phase.
Yet Canada has not implemented key recommendations made in 1990 by a federal-provincial-Inuvialuit review board that examined shallow-water oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea. Major gaps identified at that time included the inability to adequately contain and clean up a major oil spill in the Arctic’s icy, remote waters; inadequate assessment of potential liability; and a lack of consultation with Inuit about proposed oil development.
For more information, visit the Pew Environment Group's detailed description of this report, which includes a map of Canada's Arctic oil and gas.
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