Murphy criticizes government inaction on west coast oil leaks

NDP Environment & Conservation Critic George Murphy

NDP Environment Critic George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) is appalled that government has known for at least a year about the rapidly increasing amount of oil in Port au Port Bay without taking strong and immediate action.

Murphy says that if the government can’t handle a conventional spill from drilling activity like this on the west coast, he doesn’t see how it can expect the public to have confidence in government’s ability to clean up a spill should they allow fracking to occur there.

“According to the Port au Port Fishery Committee, they approached the Department of Environment in early 2014 to investigate an alarming increase in oil in the Shoal Point-Port au Port Bay region,” Murphy said in the House of Assembly today. “Again in April the committee wrote the Minister of Environment of the day requesting that the spill sites be included in the national inventory of contaminated sites.

“The department clearly knew about the spills then. Why the inaction on the part of the department?”

Murphy says that despite what the minister said in the House yesterday about oil in the bay being a naturally occurring phenomenon, he would not classify abandoned and decaying wellheads as “natural.”

“They’re leaking oil into the environment. Fishermen in the area are concerned. How long do they have to wait before government acts?” he wants to know.

He says the provincial department should talk to their federal counterparts on the issue of leaking wells in the Port au Port Bay area.

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