OFFSHORE HYDROCARBON AND SYNTHETIC HYDROCARBON SPILLS IN EASTERN CANADA: THE ISSUE OF FOLLOW-UP AND EXPERIENCE
GAIL S. FRASER
The Environmental Assessment (EA) process should involve the generation of testable predictions generated using clearly stated methods and followed by the collection of environmental monitoring data. Follow-up programs should aim to determine the accuracy of the initial predictions. We examined the follow-up process for six oil and gas extraction projects in eastern Canada with respect to assessing batch spill (< 50 barrels of hydrocarbons and synthetic hydrocarbons) predictions. For three projects we compared oil spill frequency predictions to observed data. All three projects exceeded their predicted frequencies and two projects by ratios (actual to predicted) greater than six. Spill histories from earlier projects, clearly exceeding predictions of future projects, are not provided in subsequent oil and gas EAs for the region, when there were opportunities to do so. We provide recommendations on how to strengthen the quality of EAs and increase protection of the marine environment in Canada.
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