Tuesday, 18 March 2014

MHA and Minister for Natural Resources Hon. Derrick Dalley's Position

On February 14, 2014 The Minister of Natural Resources and MHA for The Isles of Notre Dame posted this message on his Face Book page. This is a very encouraging post in the sense that we know we have the member for our district working on our behalf.  On the other hand an update was to be forthcoming and because we haven't heard anything I presume no meeting has of yet been set. This meeting is crucial to our cause and I feel we the public must put pressure on Hon. Minister Gail Shea to meet with Minister Dalley in a very timely manner.  She has agreed so she needs to keep her promise.  

We must also let her know that we expect from that meeting an agreement that the oil MUST be removed from Manolis L.  A draft letter and minister Shea's email address will be forthcoming. We ask all to send her a loud message. We want her to meet with our MHA and we want that meeting to result in the oil being pumped out of Manolis L.

Manolis L Committee Co-Chair
Carolyn R Parsons

Manolis L. Update:
On Monday, I met with John Butler the Canadian Coast Guard Assistant Commissioner, and received an overview of the efforts of the Coast Guard to manage the oil leak from the Manolis L. I would like to acknowledge and thank the Coast Guard for their response time and their efforts to contain the oil leak, despite difficult sea conditions this time of year. Not to be too skeptical, but while this is good news, time will judge the solutions!

It was acknowledged by Mr. Butler that the cooperation of residents has been helpful in their efforts. As indicated publicly, tremendous resources including Coast Guard vessels, staff, and dive teams have provided oversight and vigilance to the oil leak. The Remotely Operated Vehicle has been deployed on 5 different occasions to assess the leaks and the condition of the 600ft hull. The original two cracks remain the only leaking areas and are being managed with the successful neoprene gaskets and a second cofferdam, with a better design and weight to withstand the strong currents. The Coast Guard remains confident that these solutions are effective, safe and address current risks.

According to Mr. Butler, the problematic oil is diesel - approximately 10 % of the oil in the Manolis - the top layer diesel is mixing with the heavier bunker oil thus creating the problem.

I emphasized the concerns of residents, highlighting the potential impact on the marine ecosystem, tourism and local communities. Mr. Butler assured me that the Coast Guard will continue to monitor the site and are confident in their ability to manage the risks with this current approach.

It is my view that Canadian Coast Guard is doing what they can to manage the safety and the risks associated with the oil leak. The question remains, what if? It is this question that begs an answer from the Federal Government.

I have been in contact with the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Hon. Gail Shea. She has agreed to meet with me - we are currently working on a date for this meeting. I will provide updates as things progress.

Make no mistake, this remains a very important issue for me and I will continue to voice our concerns to the people in the Federal Government who make the decisions!

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