Oil and gas regulators in Newfoundland issued a call for bids to explore areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. According to the Canadian Press, the call for bids was issued despite the federal environment commissioner telling the oil and gas regulators to wait several months until a key environmental assessment is complete.
The commissioner's job is to audit government operations for their environmental performance so companies exploring and drilling in marine habitat are aware of what measures they need to undertake to protect the environment. The report said the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board was warned by the commissioner last year about a similar issue when it was considering offering the parcels of offshore land to energy companies.
A board spokesman told the Canadian Press the call for bids is acceptable because the deadline isn't for four months after the assessment is published and allows companies to integrate necessary plans to protect marine life.
"To maximize opportunities for protecting the environment and to ensure that potential project proponents have the environmental information to make appropriate decisions, the boards should ensure that the results of up-to-date strategic environmental assessments are available prior to issuing a call for bids," the environment auditor said in a statement.