Fri 1 Oct, 2010

For immediate release 1st October 2010

The Scottish Green Party has attacked today's decision by the UK government to grant the oil company Chevron permission to begin deepwater exploratory drilling in the waters west of Shetland. (1)

This follows Green MSP Patrick Harvie's challenge to the First Minister at First Minister's Questions to support an EU vote to ban deep sea drilling on Thursday 30thSeptember. The European Parliament is considering a moratorium following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The First Minister claimed that safety standards in Scottish waters were robust without however detailing changes to current practices or emergency contingencies the industry had made since the BP tragedy in the Gulf.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"It is disgraceful to hear that the UK Coalition Government has decided to grant permission to Chevron to begin deepwater drilling in the waters west of Shetland.

"At the very least this decision is premature. We have yet to hear the outcome of the inquiries into the Deepwater Horizon tragedy that claimed the lives of 11 oilmen and spilled nearly 5 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The consequences of the spill on the environment are still being assessed.

"The purpose of further exploration also has to be challenged in light of climate change. If the world even uses the oil and gas we've already found we will exceed the climate targets which both governments say they're committed to. There's simply no excuse to go looking for more."

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