Government introduced legislation today, Oct. 7, to ensure greater accountability for companies operating in the Nova Scotia offshore.
Energy Minister Andrew Younger introduced amendments to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act to strengthen offshore environmental liability protections and improve transparency and clarity of operations.
“We are very optimistic about our offshore opportunities,” said Mr. Younger. “As Nova Scotia’s offshore industry continues to grow, we must have the best laws and regulations in place to protect our environment while we develop our resources. We already have one of the strongest offshore safety and environmental protection regimes in the world, and we’re working with our federal partners to enhance our world-class standards.”
The amendments mirror changes introduced federally earlier this year. The federal government, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador have been working to adopt a common approach to regulating Atlantic Canada’s offshore.
Key elements of the amendments include:
— Keeping liability for fault unlimited, but raising the absolute liability, which applies even if the operator is not at fault, from $30 million to $1 billion per operator
— Raising the financial capacity requirements for drilling, production and development to at least $1 billion
— Designating the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board as a responsible authority to conduct environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
— Making emergency response plans and environmental plans available to the public and allowing regulators to share information with other jurisdictions
— Giving the offshore petroleum board authority to administer monetary penalties
Nova Scotia committed in June 2013 to update and modernize the accord act for the offshore.