Percy Barrett, Opposition Critic for Environment and Conservation and MHA
for the District of Bellevue, says the inability of a York University
researcher to access information related to oil spills off the coast of this
province further emphasizes the need for greater openness and accountability
in the sector.
"When a serious spill took place at the Terra Nova FPSO
last November, I called on government to be more accountable in releasing
reports to the public," said Barrett. "The public has a right to access this
information and be confident that proper procedures are being followed. It
is certainly in the public interest to have an open and transparent
monitoring process in place. The difficulty this independent researcher has
had really emphasizes the need for change.
"Since that spill, I have been lobbying government and the Minister of
Environment and Conservation to place independent monitors on all offshore
production and exploration platforms. The marine environment off our shores
is home to fishing grounds, seabirds and other marine life that should be
protected to the best of our abilities."
Barrett says he would like to know were the provincial Minister of
Environment and Conservation, Tom Osborne, stands on this issue. "It is time
for the Minister to stop hiding behind officials and state a position on
this issue. Although the CNLOPB is responsible for administering the
regulations, it is government that must show leadership to ensure greater
accountability and preservation of the environment. The Minister should let
the people of this province know if he is in favour of the information being
made public and explain what actions he has taken to initiate change. I
would like to know when information will become available and when
legislation will be brought forward if necessary."
Earlier this week, it was reported in the media that Gail Fraser, an
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at York University, was having
trouble getting information related to oil spills off the coast of this