Dear Editor: I am writing this letter as the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade’s chair of the Oil and Gas Committee and first vice-president.
Promotion of the western Newfoundland oil and gas industry continues to be at the top of the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade’s advocacy agenda in its priority plan for 2014.
The recent announcement by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board of the completion of the Western Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area Strategic Environmental Assessment Update Report is an important milestone in the industry’s development.
Science-based decision-making and development both offshore and onshore that meets or exceeds government regulations are one of the key pillars of our Policy on Responsible Economic Development.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment Update Report provides information for explorers for offshore program planning and also informs future decisions, including the potential for future exploration licences.
It also provides an overview of the biophysical and socio-economic environment, including potential environmental sensitivities of which both explorers and the community must remain aware.
We are looking forward next to the provincial government’s research and implementation of a world-class, made-for-western Newfoundland regulatory regime related to hydraulic fracturing so that the junior explorers can continue an onshore and offshore exploration program.
We have said publicly many times that we can be a leader, a model for the responsible development of an oil and gas industry for others to emulate.
We, like government and the explorers, support industry development that is safe for people and safe for the environment.
The board of trade has been behind responsible development of the local oil and gas industry for over a decade as it represents a significant opportunity for quality of life in the greater Corner Brook area and western Newfoundland — employment, physical and mental health, education, recreation and leisure time and social belonging.
We need diversification and we need the economic and social prosperity and well-being that are possible from successful exploration and production using the best knowledge, science and technology.
Sharon McLennon, first vice-president and chair, Oil and Gas Committee, Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade