SNP Call On MEPs To Ditch Premature Oil Drill Ban

06 October 2010
The SNP Members of the European Parliament Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton have today (Wednesday) called on fellow MEPs to reject a premature call for a moratorium on drilling in EU waters.
MEPs will debate a call for a moratorium from the Parliament's Environment Committee on Wednesday and vote upon it on Thursday. 
While the motion for resolution is, even if approved in its totality, not binding in that the EU does not have power to force a moratorium, the SNP in the European Parliament, as well as the Scottish government, oppose the proposals.  The UK government also opposes the proposal.
SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP commented:   
"We will be opposing this moratorium call and voting against any attempt by the European Commission to use the Gulf of Mexico disaster as an excuse to grab more powers for itself over oil and gas exploration. 
"I look forward to the day when Scotland's marine resources can be harnessed by an independent Scottish Government, working voluntarily with neighbours around our seas to ensure that safety standards and environmental protection continue to be prioritised."
SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:
"Nobody would for a second argue that lessons do not need to be learned from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the US, but to compare the lax standards in the US with the tightly regulated Scottish waters is to miss the point entirely, and undermine an economically vital industry.
"Scotland's high standards are hard won, and to even call for a ban while the same motion also calls for member states to conduct a stock take of whether their preparedness is adequate is quite disproportionate and wholly premature.  Much of the tone of the debate in Brussels has been based on a fallacy that the US and Scottish standards are more or less the same.  They are emphatically not.
"There were almost 300 drills in UK waters last year.  Since 1974 there have been 315 deep (over 300 metre) drills, all without blow out or drilling related oil spill.  Nobody is complacent for a second, but the track record does not merit a ban on spurious grounds.  The relevant authorities in Scotland, and indeed the UK, are already conducting thorough reviews, and while that process is ongoing it is simply wrong to suggest that a vital industry should be shut down and thousands of jobs, and Europe's energy security put at risk."