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‘Hands Across the Sand’ to highlight risks of BP drilling in the Great Australian Bight

May 13, 2014|Posted in: Events, Oil Spills

Time: 11am, Saturday, 17TH May 2014

Place: Semaphore Beach foreshore, SA

The Wilderness Society’s SA Branch invites you to join hundreds of South Australians who will come together and join hands on the foreshore at Semaphore Beach on Saturday May 17th, 2014 on the Semaphore Beach foreshore. The action is intended to make a symbolic statement of opposition to inappropriate resource exploration and drilling in our seas and in support of clean energy alternatives.

The action has been called in response to plans by BP to conduct high risk deep-sea drilling for oil and gas in the waters of the Great Australian Bight (an internationally recognised whale nursery) as early as 2015 and seismic testing by the lesser known company Bight Petroleum in the sensitive waters off Kangaroo Island.

BP has a poor environmental track record. The company was responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico on 20th April 2010. An explosion caused the death of 11 people after which oil flowed for 87 days, making it the largest accidental oil spill disaster in the history of the petroleum industry.

The US Government estimated the total discharge at 4.9 million barrels (780,000 m3). After several failed efforts to contain the flow, the well was finally declared sealed on 19 September 2010. Some reports indicate the well site continues to leak.

The oil dispersant Corexit, previously only on surface slicks, was released underwater in unprecedented volumes. Wen combined with oil, Corexit is known to dramatically increase the oil’s toxicity, while making it available to organisms in the water column and on the sea floor. Bird, fish, invertebrate and dolphin mortalities were significant, as were impacts to commercial fisheries, tourism, coastal communities, the health of clean-up workers and overall ecosystem health.

For more info on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we recommend Wikipedia.

International Day of Action:

The Semaphore event ties in with the international day of action ‘Hands across the Sand’ held around the world on 17th May 2014, calling for clean energy alternatives to our fossil fuel addiction.

The Kangaroo Island community will also be holding protest events on the day at Kingscote and Stokes Bay.

Further info:

Established in 1976, the Marine Life Society of South Australia Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to understanding, promoting and conserving South Australia's marine biodiversity. Many of the articles found on this blog were originally published in the Society's monthly newsletters or annual journals.

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