Oil and Gas Developments: Prospects for Sustainable Community Life?

Sinclair, Peter R. (2011) Oil and Gas Developments: Prospects for Sustainable Community Life? In: Forum on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploitation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, April 8-9, 2011, Les-Îsles-de-la-Madeleine.

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It is possible that Les-Îsles-de-la-Madeleine sit close to an oil and gas field muchlarger than Hibernia. Should you be very happy about this, cautiously optimistic, or bitterly opposed? By looking at experience elsewhere, I shall reach my ownconclusion and at least give you information that you may find useful in forming your opinions. First, a quote about Alberta. The demands of the tar sands originate in the unstable, shifting politics and economics of world energy, in the investment strategies of the international petroleum industry, and in the policies of our own governments. Such demands have little in common with the needs of thosemost likely to be affected by development, and they have little to do with the best interests of Albertans and other Canadians in deriving the maximum benefit from the use of their exhaustible resources (Larry Pratt, The Tar Sands, 1976). Thirty-five years later, much the same could be written about the impact of oilsands development in Alberta. Will these words describe what will happen in LesÎsles-de-la-Madeleine? What will development mean for community sustainability? Is this a blessing that assures survival or a curse filled with false promises? The notion of oil as a curse comes from many cases in which local residents fail to capture a reasonable share of the value of the resource or experience a decline in their quality of their life. How do local and regional authorities relate to the oil and gas industry? Can they be effective in linking that development to community sustainability? These are my questions. Actually, I have often questioned the use of both community and sustainability, and the implicit values they convey. Community refers loosely to groups of people who have some common interest or values. When the common interest is place of residence, I have no problem with it. The further implication is that members of a community share common values and ways of behaving. I think this is highly misleading and romanticized when applied to localities.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14130
Item ID: 14130
Department(s): Divisions > Community-University Research for Recovery Alliance (CURRA)
Date: April 2011
Date Type: Submission
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