The Great Australian Bight is the expanse of water on the Southern Coast of Australia, spanning kilometres and kilometres of South Australia and Western Australia coastline. Boasting spectacular views and the habitat for countless species with a complex ecosystem.
The Bight is known for extremely fluctuating and wild waters. It’s also the area that a number of companies have attempted to explore for oil. The current danger, is that Norwegian company, Equinor, are commencing plans to build a rig and exploring for oil in the Bight.
Right now, a lot of the approval process rests with an organisation called NOPSEMA – who have put out a document calling for public comment, which you can find here.
Whilst signing petitions doesn’t always incite immediate action, this approval process is dependent on NOPSEMA who are using public comments as a major deciding factor, alongside existing environmental plans, on whether the oil drilling will proceed.
The deadline is 20th March so action must be immediately taken, the form asks for your opinion on the impact of oil drilling on the environment, so to make answers easier for you, we’ve compiled some points on the danger.
1) The waters of the Bight in which they will drill are deeper, more remote and more treacherous than the Gulf of Mexico for instance where the world’s worst oil spill disaster occurred. It took 87 days to stop the oil spewing into the gulf and they sent 6800 boats to clean that spill – we don’t have those boats readily available and much of our coastline is so remote it will never be able to be cleaned.
2) SA enjoys a clean green reputation in fact we perhaps take for granted just how pristine our waters are. An oil spill – and most of these occur during the exploration phase would be absolutely devastating to our coast and beaches – at worst it could spread from WA right around to Bondi and out past KI. Over 10,000 people are employed in the tourism and aquaculture industries – all these jobs would be at risk.
3) Equinor hasn’t said how many ongoing jobs this oil rig would create, nor have they confirmed that it would be positions filled by Australians.
4) The Bight is home to a Southern Right Whale nursery – this is the home of around 3 dozen species of whale dolphins found in the region. Last year, scientists discovered dozens of new species in the Bight. 85% of all marine life found there is not seen anywhere else on earth so a disaster could wipe them out.
5) The risk to marine life is not just from an oil spill – day to day operations will see chemicals spill into the water and the noise from the rig and constant vessel traffic will harm many species – particularly those who rely on sonar for communication. Recently masses of dolphins were found dead in South America – the cause has been listed as noise.
6) The world is on the precipice of a climate crisis – exploring for fossil fuels is counterintuitive to the future employment climate. Equinor in fact has a large renewables division – we would be better welcoming them to South Australia to invest in this aspect of energy production.
Fill out the form by clicking here or through this link: http://ow.ly/TcPf30o759D