Harvie presses Salmond to back deepwater moratorium

For immediate release 30 September 2010

At today's First Minister's Questions, Green MSP Patrick Harvie pressed Alex Salmond to support European plans for a moratorium on deepwater drilling following the recent spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite agreement at the European Parliament on this issue earlier this week, the First Minister refused to back the measures required to protect Scotland's economy and environment. Reports suggest a decision by UK Ministers on this issue could be taken as soon as this week.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"The First Minister had an opportunity today to stick up for Scotland's economy and environment, but instead he decided to put the short-term interests of the oil industry first. Like his UK counterparts, he apparently sees no contradiction between the proposals for deepwater drilling off Shetland, locking us into another generation of oil addiction, and his own environmental rhetoric. This country cannot afford the economic consequences of a spill, but even aside from that risk there's no justification for chasing new oil reserves while pushing the idea of a "100% renewable" Scotland.

"Climate change isn't some remote threat for the future. The evidence of the damage being done right now is unarguable. Similarly, a major and devastating spill isn't an obscure theoretical possibility - just this year we saw millions of gallons of oil pour directly into the Gulf of Mexico from the same kind of deepwater wells being proposed for Scottish waters.

"Alex Salmond's priorities are clear. His talk about renewables is just that - mere talk. His real view is that oil companies must have free rein, and no questions must be asked. It's an attitude straight from the 1970s, not one fit for the 21st century. Scotland's future simply isn't safe in the hands of the oil-addicted SNP, nor the equally ill-advised coalition in London."