The Nova Scotia government is reviewing a Senate Committee report that points to a possible conflict of interest in the province’s offshore regulatory board.
The possible conflict of interest lays, according to the Senate Natural Resources Committee’s 77-page report, in the dual roles of “maximizing hydrocarbon recovery, value, and benefits” and “environmental safety.”
According to the report, the boards of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland have both functions in their mandate — in contrast to the federal government, which has two separate bodies for regulating safety and promotion.
Nova Scotia Department of Energy spokeswoman Tracy Barron said the report is currently under review, but the province believes both roles are well-defined.
“The province believes the responsibilities are clearly defined in the current structure,” she said in an email.
“There is a built in separation (between operations and safety) within the board.”
Barron added the province regularly examines its regulatory systems with the federal government, and will make any changes deemed necessary in their review.
Liberal Energy Critic Andrew Younger said reviewing the role of the board makes sense, but doesn’t believe the two functions are necessarily at odds.
“Any review should ensure that those regulating the industry do not have any incentive … to look the other way when it comes to safety and environmental concerns,” he said. “At the same time, it’s important to ensure there isn’t duplication in regulatory agencies.”
The Senate Natural Resources Committee report was commissioned after the BP disaster.
• Committee According to the committee, it received expert testimony on the question of banning offshore drilling, but ultimately, the “facts do not justify banning Canada’s current offshore drilling.”