You'd most likely be well aware of Norweigian-based energy company Equinor, plans to search for oil in the Great Australian Bight. The company currently holds two permits allowing them to explore this area of Australia's coastline. Since the recent uproar by us Aussies (and those all around the world), Equinor has released a Draft Environment Plan where you can read about what they plan to do. While Equinor enjoy preaching their half-decent track record and assure us that they care and hear our voices - they dramatically downplay the extreme risks that could potentially arise during the oil development cycle (including exploration, development, production and abandonment).
We're going to outline some of the major risks, which hopefully encourage you to do what you can to strengthen our voice even more. Find out what you can do below!
Firstly, there is the obvious risk of a catastrophic oil spill, which would severely damage the Bight. You don't have to go that far back to remember the huge effect BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster had on the environment in the Gulf of Mexico.
Other risks, that you may not be entirely aware of, include the in-explainable pressure that the oil development process will put on the marine values of the region, such as noise pollution, smothering from seabed disturbance and drill cuttings disposal, chemical pollution and discharge of drilling fluids, accidental discharge and leakage of oil, and putting vulnerable species, like the Southern Right Whale, Leafy Sea Dragon and Sunfish at risk.
Australia is known to have one of the most pristine coast lines across the globe, attracting millions of tourists yearly (with a combined economic benefit of $1.2 billion per year for the 2013-14 for just the Bight region). The economic and environmental benefit of simply leaving the Bight as it is (and telling Equinor to bugger off), and creating a sustainable pathway to ensure the ongoing health of Australia's coastline, far outweigh any benefits that Equinor could bring to the table.
What You Can Do
There is a lot you can do. Even just taking one small action can make a huge ripple. Take a dive into how you can express your concerns.
1. There is currently a Public Comment Period open from the 19th of February til the 20th of March 2019 - here you can comment and raise concerns in regards to Equinor's Draft Environment Plan. These comments will go directly to NOPSEMA (National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority) for assessment - this is the regulator in the issye. Have your say here.
2. Download our Instagram Story Post and share the awareness. Get social. Tell your friends and family about what is at stake.
3. Sign the Petition from the Wilderness Society, stating that you directly oppose Equinor's current plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight.
4. Sign the Statement of Concern from the Great Australian Bight Alliance.
5. Donate to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. This money will also go to help other causes, such as #StopAdani and making the Great Barrier Reef Great Again.
6. Contact your local Member for Parliament, outlining your concerns.
At the end of the day, the more each of us do, the louder we are, and the bigger the difference we can make.