Australia should follow US lead with offshore drilling bans.

Great Austrlian Bight AllianceBP is treating the Australian people, the Australian Senate and even Australia’s offshore oil and gas authority (NOPSEMA) with contempt by resubmitting its application to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight before the Senate inquiry into BP’s plans has even heard submissions.

See ABC's report here.

The Australian Senate’s Environment Committee is looking into the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of BP’s planned exploratory oil drilling project and any future oil or gas production in the Great Australian Bight and will report back by May 12th 2016.

Sea Shepherd is urging everyone to make a submission here.

Sea Shepherd is part of the Great Australian Bight Alliance in a bid to stop BP from putting one of the planets natural wonders at risk from oil exploration. One of the groups leading the charge is the Wilderness Society South Australia, a group along with other alliance partners that Sea Shepherd Australia is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with for the preservation of the Bight for future generations.

NOPSEMA has already rejected BP’s first application to drill four exploration wells in the Bight because of inadequacies in its plans, but did not reveal details to the public. BP has not revealed what changes it has made to its previous Environment Plan. Sea Shepherd is calling on BP to release worst-case oil spill modeling so the Australian public can see for themselves, as well as their plans on how they will go about cleaning up a massive oil spill like the Deep Water Horizon Disaster, in the Great Australian Bight.

At risk mother and calf souther right whale. Photo: Ocean AllianceAt risk mother and calf souther right whale. Photo: Ocean Alliance“The Great Australian Bight is rich in biodiversity from Blue, Minke, Southern Right, Sperm and Humpback whales, to orcas, dolphins, seals and numerous shark species and countless other marine life. It’s a very special place of global significance and concern and deserves our utmost protection,” said Jeff Hansen, Managing Director Sea Shepherd Australia.

 “If the Australian Government is not prepared to take on the Japanese whalers killing whales illegally in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, the very least it can do is not allow BP from putting at risk the Great Australian Bight whale nursery, “

Independent modeling, commissioned by the Wilderness Society and released last year, showed that an oil spill in the Bight from a deep-sea well blowout would be devastating for fisheries, marine life and tourism. The model shows that an oil spill in the Great Australian Bight could result in the closure of fisheries in the Bight, Bass Strait and even the Tasman Sea. Even a low-flow oil spill could impact all of southern Australia’s coast, from Western Australia right across to Victoria through Bass Strait and around Tasmania. View modeling here: https://youtu.be/B5OnMGtx1cQ.

BP was responsible for the world’s biggest oil spill accident, the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010, with 800 million litres of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. 

The oil rig explosion killed 11 people and injured 17 others. Over 8,000 marine animals (birds, turtles, mammals) were reported dead, just six months after the spill, many that were on the endangered species list. Marine animals are still washing up dead today as a result of illnesses caused by BP’s spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

After the spill, researchers found dolphins suffering from lung diseases and abnormalities they associated with exposure to oil contamination. In August 2011, about a year after oil stopped leaking from BP's blown-out well, researchers tagged 32 dolphins and followed them to see what happened.

The study found they've suffered from a high mortality rate and chronic diseases that have hurt the animals' ability to reproduce.

Many dolphin mothers had to give birth to still born calves as a result of BP’s devastating oil spill.

Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) observed in emulsified oil on April 29, 2010. Photo: WikipediaStriped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) observed in emulsified oil on April 29, 2010. Photo: Wikipedia
A BP Oiled Brown Pelican near Grand Isle, Louisiana. Photo: WIkipediaA BP Oiled Brown Pelican near Grand Isle, Louisiana. Photo: WIkipedia

This week the United States banned oil and gas drilling in much of the Atlantic seaboard, following a similar policy reversal in the Arctic. Australia should follow Obama’s lead and honor the recent Paris commitments to address climate change.

“We have just had the hottest month on record, our planet is heating up and its ability to support life is being diminished greatly. To allow BP to drill for more climate polluting oil in the fragile waters of the Great Australia Bight is absolute insanity. Future generations are relying on us all to stand up against BP and say no, for this is the most important fight our species has ever faced, the fight to save our planet, our home and to BP, we say No. “ said Jeff Hansen, Managing Director Sea Shepherd Australia.

The Gulf of Mexico’s fishing industries and marine environment has still not recovered and up to 38 million litres (10 million gallons) of crude oil from BP’s spill has settled at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, where it is threatening wildlife and marine ecosystems, according to a new study.

Now BP wants to drill for more climate polluting oil in the fragile waters of the Great Australian Bight, in deeper and rougher waters than the Gulf of Mexico.

Sea Shepherd and the Great Australian Bight Alliance say no!

#FIGHTFORTHEBIGHT  http://www.fightforthebight.org.au/

Platform supply vessels battle the blazing remnants of the BP off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. Photo: WikipediaPlatform supply vessels battle the blazing remnants of the BP off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. Photo: Wikipedia

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