SFU report on offshore oil & gas development concludes: keep the moratoria

A report released by SFU on May 14, 2004, concludes that the moratorium on offshore oil and gas should be maintained. The most comprehensive report released to date, this is the first report that addresses the economics. The results highlight limited opportunities for economic benefits for BC and caution that the costs to tourism and fishing would likely outweigh any net gain.

The report, entitled A REVIEW OF OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA (link removed), is a study prepared for the Coastal First Nations by the Offshore Oil and Gas Research Group, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University.

The B.C. Scientific Review Panel’s conclusions (link removed) were that there are significant gaps in knowledge, that environmental impacts could be catastrophic, that existing regulatory structures are deficient, and that a number of preconditions need to be met before OOGD can proceed. These all suggest that the lifting of the existing moratorium would be premature.

The Federal Expert Panel (FEP) which reviewed the scientific arguments for the moratorium did not recommend lifting the moratorium. FEP emphasized that a number of conditions need to be met prior to OOGD proceeding, which is in effect maintaining a moratorium on OOGD.

This report comes a day after the public hearing panel chaired by Roland Priddle, walked out of the hearing in Victoria, refusing to hear statements prepared by a number of registered presenters.

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