BIG OIL DON'T SURF

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Big Oil does not be­long in the Great Aus­tralian Bight.

BP, when ap­ply­ing to drill for oil in the Bight in 2016, stated in their con­fi­den­tial en­vi­ron­ment plan that an oil spill in the Bight and the re­sult­ing clean up would pro­vide a “wel­come boost to lo­cal economies.” Even af­ter de­stroy­ing the coast­line and the lives of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, they were still think­ing in terms of dol­lars.

Un­fath­omably, the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment granted the first ex­plo­ration per­mits in the Bight less than a year af­ter BP’s Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon rig had ex­ploded in the Gulf of Mex­ico, lay­ing waste to the Gulf coast. The same com­pany was now granted per­mits in wa­ters twice as deep, wa­ters open to the full force of the Roar­ing For­ties, and wa­ters home to one of the world’s last great pris­tine ma­rine ecolo­gies. What could go wrong?

In­de­pen­dent modelling showed a worse case oil spill in win­ter would spread along the South Aus­tralian and Vic­to­rian coasts, cir­cum­nav­i­gate Tas­ma­nia, be­fore mak­ing its way up the Eastern Se­aboard. There would be oil on beaches for years at Cac­tus, Bells Beach, Ship­stern Bluff and ev­ery­where in be­tween. Ma­rine life would be dev­as­tated. Com­mu­ni­ties would be dev­as­tated. It would be Aus­tralia’s own Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon.

The Fight for The Bight is at a cru­cial point. Af­ter pas­sion­ate op­po­si­tion BP has pulled out, but now Equinor, a Nor­we­gian com­pany are plan­ning to drill next year. If Equinor can be stopped there’s a real chance the Bight can be kept free from Big Oil for good. The Bight lo­cals have taken the fight to Big Oil. It’s time for surfers around Aus­tralia to join the fight for the Bight.

Win­ter oil spill modelling c/ The Wilder­ness So­ci­ety/Lau­rent C.M Le­bre­ton MSc (Artist’s im­pres­sion)

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