The folks Down Under have not taken this whole Norwegian-oil-company-drilling-their-pristine-southern-waters thing lightly. Over the past month, in response to would-be-oil-driller Equinor’s environmental draft plan for the Great Australian Bight, Australians have blitzed social media, they’ve paddled out en masse protest and their professional surfing royalty even banded together to issue a statement condemning the plan (you can read all about that here).
Aside from the very important task of simply raising public awareness for the issue, the bulk of protestor efforts have been to direct people to comment on the environmental draft plan via the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), which offered a period of 30 days for people to weigh in on the issue. As of yesterday, that commenting period has drawn to a close, and according to NOPSEMA, over 30,000 comments were made on the plan.
So what happens next? Well, according to NOPSEMA, “Matters that are relevant to the environmental management of the proposed activity must now be addressed within Equinor's revised environment plan,” and “Equinor will prepare a report detailing how they have considered relevant comments and identify amendments made to the environment plan as a result of comments received.” From there, the report will be published by Equinor in a formal submission of the plan to NOPSEMA, who will then make its own decision on the plan.
In the meantime, Australian surfers are showing no signs of slowing down in their rebuke of Equinor, with another protest paddle out planned in Melbourne on March 24. If you’d like to participate, protestors will be meeting at the northern end of Catani Gardens in St. Kilda at 2 p.m., before paddling out at nearby St. Kilda West Beach.