Australian Government Permits BP To Explore New Oil Reserves
Despite currently considering new protected zones for marine life in its waters, the Australian government has now decided to issue new permits to BP that will allow the oil giant to conduct seismic explorations for oil and gas (including drilling) in waters south and west of Australia, that also include feeding and breeding grounds for beaked, blue and Southern right whales, as well as two species of dolphin.
WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, member of the Save our Marine Life Coalition, is dismayed by this bizarre decision which it feels clearly demonstrates a lack of appropriate response by the oil and gas industry towards fragile marine ecosystems, and a general unwillingness by governments to stand up to this industry.
“The Australian government is preempting its own policies concerning the establishment of marine protected areas and protection zones for its marine biodiversity as well as endangered species, including whales and dolphins”, says Mike Bossley, senior scientist at WDCS. “The government has still not done its homework completing a proper review of the impact by the Timor Oil Spill in summer 2009, which probably had significant long term impacts on cetaceans in the Timor Sea”.
Reacting to the critique by conservation groups, Australia’s Federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, is reported in the press arguing that the permits will generate millions of dollars, and that BP needs to meet ‘strict conditions’.
‘We are not reassured by the comments made by Minister Ferguson,” says WDCS spokesperson, Nicolas Entrup. “This is simplistic political rhetoric used to justify his decision to allow BP to begin drilling.’
WDCS is consulting within the Save our Marine Life Coalition identifying next steps in response to these developments. We will keep you posted.
In the meantime, please support our E-Protest
calling on the Australian Government to establish Marine Protected Areas in its waters.
More information can also be found at: http://www.saveourmarinelife.org.au/