US Proposal To Allow Offshore Drilling On Georges Bank Cause For Local Concern

Posted on Friday, January 12, 2018 16:36 PM

A proposal by the Trump administartion to allow offshore drilling in nearly all US federal waters may be cause for concern on this side of the border.

The draft proposal issued by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, could see the North Atlantic zone, which includes Georges Bank, open to petroleum and gas development.

Georges Bank is an abundant fishing ground, co-managed by Canada and the US.

John Davis, a Shelburne resident and president of the Clean Oceans Action Committee, says the proposal is worrying.

"If that actually occurred, it would be an existential threat to the economy of South and Southwestern Nova Scotia," says Davis. "It's a major issue and we really have to watch it."

The Nova Scotian side of the bank has been off limits to drilling since 1988.

Davis says a spill on Georges Bank could be devastating due to the way the currents work.

"It's a clockwise current that flows in a circular motion around the bank, it has no knowledge of international boundaries," says Davis. "If you spill oil anywhere in that gyre it will nearly instantaneously be impacting the whole bank."

Davis says Florida has already been exempted so there is hope that the Eastern United States may also.

Massachussetts governor Charlie Baker has also spoken out in opposition of the plan.