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Newfoundland offshore board asks Feds to act

August 18, 2011  By The Canadian Press

Aug. 18, 2011, St. John's - The regulator of Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore energy industry says it has passed along an inquiry's call for a distinct safety agency to Ottawa and the provincial government.

An inquiry report recommended the creation of "a separate and autonomous" safety regulator, either as a separate division of the
Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board or as a separate agency.

The board says in the meantime, it has already separated its safety and operations duties into two separate departments.

The inquiry was launched after Cougar Flight 491 crashed into the North Atlantic on March 12, 2009, killing 17 of 18 people on board.

Commissioner Robert Wells recommended in a report released Monday that the safety regulator should be able to take any action it
considers necessary to prevent the risk of injury or death.


Critics have accused the board of a conflict of interest because it is tasked with developing the province's offshore resources to
the maximum extent while also protecting workers and the environment.

Wells, a retired judge with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, was asked to assess whether "helicopter" travel is as safe as possible to offshore oil sites more than 300 kilometres east of St. John's.


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