Monday, 11 October 2010

Learning from the Gulf of Mexico: The EP Discuss

And while ships are still battling the oils in the Gulf of Mexico, the European Parliament has been discussing the possibility of a temporary ban on new deep-water oil drilling in Europe until uniform oil-rig safety standards procedures were introduced.
But let’s put this on the back burner for a minute.

The Parliament voted in favor of, amongst others, the following:
  • to develop rigorous EU-wide accident prevention policies for oil platforms
  • to lower the damage threshold under the Environmental Liability Directive and to include damages caused to marine waters within its scope
*The Environmental Liability Directive ensures that the polluter pays for whatever damage to the environment his actions might have caused.
  • to ensure that all seabed activities are subjected to a mandatory assessment, that the quality of EIAs is guaranteed and that hyper-hazardous activities such as seabed drilling are not permitted to proceed where an EIA indicates that risks cannot be satisfactorily mitigated
  • consider compulsory EU-wide insurance schemes designed to compensate affected businesses in the event of a spill
  • examine the decommissioning of existing drilling infrastructure, taking due account of existing international and national regulations in this area, and to clarify, if necessary by way of legislation, the responsibility of operators for ensuring safe removal and liability for any environmental damage resulting from the decommissioning of offshore infrastructure and any environmental damage arising from an offshore installation or drilling site after it has been decommissioned

The absolute majority of MEPs, including the Maltese, voted in favour of the above.

Turning to the moratorium discussed above, the majority of MEPs voted against the moratorium. Scottish MEPs especially welcomed the vote because the EU’s biggest oil reserves are found off the Scottish coast.

All Maltese MEPs voted in favour of the Moratorium with John Attard Montalto not voting.

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