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A Slightly Distressing Update On Australia's Fight For The Bight

The battle against oil giant Equinor appears to be expanding into multiple fronts. This week it was announced that the Norwegian company has won a permit to explore for oil off the coast of Western Australian. The permit opens up nearly 2,000 square miles to exploration a mere 60 miles off the wave-rich coast. 

This comes as the fight for the Great Australian Bight continues to evolve. Australian authorities are currently assessing the environmental plan for Equinor’s proposed oil exploration in the bight. Australian law requires that before any offshore petroleum activity occurs, their environment plan must be approved by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA). A final decision will be announced November 27.

As a result of the urgency of the situation, environmental groups, including Sea Shepard Australia, are ramping up their efforts to halt Equinor in their tracks. Sea Shepard recently released a public awareness video featuring Mick Fanning, Jack Freestone and Sally Fitzgibbons.

“There’s so many chances for it to go wrong, it’s unrealistic,” Fanning says in the three-minute video. “The swells, the weather that you get down there is incredible. The thing that we’re going to ruin is the nature.”

Look no further than Equinor’s impact in the Bahamas to see what can happen when weather and oil collide. Recently, when Hurricane Dorian hit the Atlantic islands with 185-mph winds over five million gallons of oil were spilled when the storm blew the lids off six crude oil storage tanks at the Equinor facility. The company originally reported that they’d spilled 1.5 million gallons, but that number was later revised upwards. 

Equinor currently operates in 30 countries around the world. They announced this week that they’re pursuing a $550 million wind project off the the coast of Norway, which may be a step in the right direction, but that hardly lets them off the hook for what they’re planning in Australian.

You can find more information at GreatAustralianBightAlliance.org.au.

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