Equinor Drops Plans to Drill in the Great Australian Bight
By Andy Rowel
The Norwegian company, Equinor, has announced it is abandoning plans to drill for oil in the highly ecologically sensitive, Great Australian Bight, which has been a battleground between conservationists and the industry for years.
Off the country's southern coast, the area is a marine park home to one of the largest breeding populations of endangered southern right whales in the world. It is seen as a marine treasure.
Despite this, Equinor, which is two-thirds owned by the Norwegian Government, had been granted environmental approval back in December to drill about 400 kilometers off the South Australian coast. This was despite the fact that BP had abandoned plans to drill there in 2016, and Chevron in 2017.
When these companies pulled out it was seen as a significant victory, so the decision by Equinor to press ahead was "met with an outcry from Traditional Owners and environmental activists," according to the Australian NITV news.
The news this week that Equinor was abandoning drilling due to it not being "commercially competitive" was met with joy by opponents of the plan.
The Great Australian Bight Alliance, a coalition of environmental organizations along with the Mirning Indigenous people, had previously accused Equinor of refusing to formally consult with "key Indigenous groups and local governments."
Once the news broke, they were ecstatic.
Mirning Elder, Bunna Lawrie told NITV news, "It was just fantastic news to hear. To hear that news, it's going to be a collective future for all to enjoy and for our Mirning Elders and our people to continue to celebrate and to practice our culture and traditions and song and dance and our connection to that country."
The Wilderness Society's Peter Owen also told NITV news the decision was "fantastic," adding that "the Australian people have opposed drilling in the bight over a number of years. It's inappropriate to be expanding the fossil fuel industry when we're in the middle of a climate emergency and we should be transitioning away from fossil fuels."
Sarah Hanson-Young, the green Senator for South Australia, tweeted:
Breaking!! Oil giant Equinor has scrapped plans to drill in South Australia’s gorgeous Great Australian Bight. This… https://t.co/SRBFQ9qHV1— Sarah Hanson-Young💚 (@Sarah Hanson-Young💚)1582586731.0
The fight is not over yet, though, as other smaller companies still have plans to drill in the Bight.
And despite the unprecedented bush fires that have ravaged parts of Australia, the Government is still determined to press ahead with drilling, if at all possible, too.
According to ABC, the Federal Resources Minister, Keith Pitt, said the company's decision to withdraw was "disappointing" but "expressed support for future exploration in the Bight."
He added: "The Bight Basin remains one of Australia's frontier basins and any proposals for new oil and gas fields in this area will be assessed fairly and independently."
Amazingly, the Federal Government remains in denial.
Reposted with permission from Oil Change International.
- Seismic Blasting Approved in the Great Australian Bight, Posing ... ›
- An Oil Spill in the Great Australian Bight Could Be Twice as Bad as ... ›
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.
Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.
- 10 Little-Known Shark Facts - EcoWatch ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Incredible Species That Glow in the Dark - EcoWatch ›
FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.
- Which Is Worse for the Planet: Beef or Cars? - EcoWatch ›
- Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High Despite Lockdowns, UN ... ›
- 1.8 Billion Tons More Greenhouse Gases Will Be Released, Thanks ... ›