November 30, 2010 16:32 ET

WWF Calls on NEB to Collect Unbiased Evidence Through Commissioned Studies

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2010) - WWF-Canada this week made its first submission to the National Energy Board's Arctic Offshore Drilling Review, asking for the NEB to commission independent studies to address the troubling knowledge gaps evident in previous submissions.

Represented by legal counsel Ecojustice, WWF is raising serious questions about previously submitted information from industry that suggested there is no longer a need to be able to drill a timely relief well. The NEB, which regulates offshore activity in Canada's Arctic, announced the review after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to assess risks and mitigation measures associated with Arctic exploration and development.

Specific areas where submitted data is contradictory or incomplete involve the following questions:

  • What is the likelihood of a blowout occurring from drilling and what are the potential costs?
  • What are the uncertainties regarding the effectiveness of intervention methods that don't involve drilling a same-season relief well?
  • Under what circumstances would drilling a timely relief well in the Arctic remain an important safety backup?
  • What are the limitations on the effectiveness of oil spill cleanup in Arctic waters?
  • What is known or can be modeled about the impacts of an oil well blowout in the Arctic, and what are the potential gaps?
  • What are international best practices related to all of the above questions?

The NEB should address these questions by commissioning unbiased studies to help the public fully grasp the risks that must be confronted if Arctic drilling is allowed.

WWF's submission can be viewed at: www.neb-one.gc.ca/fetch.asp?language=E&ID=A27448.

This news release and associated material can be found on www.wwf.ca.

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