News - 22 February 2019

Leave a comment on Equinor's Environment Plan

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Norwegian fossil fuel company Equinor has just confirmed its intention to try risky deepwater oil drilling in the rough waters of our Great Australian Bight. To keep Big Oil out of the Bight, it’s critical that Equinor and regulator NOPSEMA hear from you. 

Photo: Southern right whales in the Bight | Peta North

Why is my feedback important?

Every piece of oil spill modelling produced by experts—as well as the oil companies themselves—has confirmed that if an oil spill disaster happened in the Great Australian Bight, the outcome would be devastating.

If we can create enough public outcry, we can stop Equinor turning our pristine southern seas into an offshore oilfield. 

How do I complete the form?

Equinor’s Environment Plan is a tough read—it’s 1,500 pages including the appendices. The first few questions in the form relate specifically to this Environment Plan. If you have responses to those, please use the fields to provide your feedback.

But the last question on the form ('Do you have any other comments?') is the most crucial to fill out. To have the biggest impact, make your response unique to you—instead of copying and pasting some of the below ideas, put them in your own words.

From Equinor's Environment Plan

  • Equinor confirms that a catastrophic oil spill from its well site in the Bight could hit anywhere along Australia’s southern coast—anywhere from Albany in WA, to Tassie, to the Victorian surf coast and even Sydney could be at risk.
  • Oil pollution could reach South Australian coasts and fishing grounds around Port Lincoln EVEN IF Equinor managed to stop a spill within 24 hours (and it could take more than 100 days to stop if a relief well is needed).
  • There are some areas of coast where clean up wouldn’t even be practically possible.
  • Equinor reckons that the risks of a spill are “acceptable” and “moderate”—even though a major oil spill, and the application of dispersants during spill response, could smother and kill sea birds, turtles, sea lions, dolphins and endangered whales, and introduce toxic pollution to the Bight’s critical food chains.
  • Equinor plans to smother the benthic marine communities around the drill site, even though they are within a Commonwealth Marine Reserve.
  • Equinor have dismissed a range of measures that could reduce the impacts and risks of the drilling on the basis that it will cost too much—even though Equinor is a huge transnational fossil fuel company with enormous operating budgets.
Photo: Paddle out for the Bight event, March 2019 | Darren Longbottom

Quick tips:

  • You might like to explain why this irreplaceable marine wonderland is important to you. Maybe you love surfing or going to the beach with your kids? Maybe you dream of driving along the Nullabor someday?
    DID YOU KNOW: The Great Australian Bight is a unique, pristine marine wilderness. It's a safe haven for 36 species of whales and dolphins, and is the most important southern right whale nursery in the world.
  • You could explain how drilling in the Bight will only make the climate crisis worse.
  • You could mention that you’re worried about industries that rely on these pristine waters, like tourism and the fisheries.
  • You could let Equinor know that, while it thinks the risks and impacts on our Bight are “acceptable”, you and the broader community most certainly do not.

If you’d like to read the full Environment Plan, you can access it here. And if you have questions about the plan, you can call 02 9434 1360. Don’t be shy :)

Photo: The Nullarbor, Great Australian Bight coastline | Matthew Turner

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