February 9, 2018
For Immediate Release

New Environmental Assessment Process Appears to Erode Atlantic Accord and Newfoundland and Labrador Based Decision Making

Keith Hutchings, Opposition Critic for Natural Resources, said, “The environmental assessment role for offshore oil and gas projects belongs with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.”

“Ottawa must ensure the joint federal-provincial Offshore Petroleum Board is, and remains, the Responsible Authority for conducting environmental assessments of offshore projects. Joint management was entrenched in the Atlantic Accord and its enacting legislation, which established the joint federal-provincial management board and established the board’s role in the environmental assessment process for offshore exploration and development,” said Hutchings.

“This process has worked exceptionally well for our province and must not be undermined to fit a made-in-Ottawa notion of how things should work. No one has a greater vested interest than the people of Newfoundland and Labrador in ensuring we strike the right balance in assessing these projects so we promote development while protecting our marine environment. We do not need others to manage the industry from afar, and we do not need costly and wasteful duplication of effort to bog things down.”

“We fought tooth-and-nail for years to get a fair say for our province in offshore oil and gas development and the assessments of these projects. The Trudeau government opposed us at the time. If it hadn’t been for federal and provincial Progressive Conservatives, we would never have achieved the Atlantic Accord and our offshore would still be managed by federal officials. We must never return to that era,” he said.

“In fact, the offshore petroleum board would be an excellent model to apply to the fisheries to give our province a joint fisheries management role that we currently do not have.”

“The Liberal government of this province must be assertive in standing up for Newfoundland and Labrador. We must not allow any of the gains we have made in the joint management of our natural resources to be whittled away,” he said.

-30-

Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications
Office of the Official Opposition, (709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca