FOR BROADCAST USE News that the Cape Breton Festival of Speed did not have approval to proceed should not have come as a surprise to organizers. Organizers were told in writing in November and February that the race would not be permitted under the Motor Vehicle Act. The event has been associated with numerous deaths elsewhere in the past. Angus MacIsaac Minister of Transportation and Public Works, says government’s first priority is to ensure safe access to public roads and highways. Judy Streatch, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage says she recognizes the hard work of the organizers and the potential tourism and economic benefits the event could bring. But she says safety has to be the primary concern. Ms. Streatch says it is unfortunate that organizers continued to plan and promote the event even though they were told earlier that it did not have the necessary approvals. -30- Organizers of the Cape Breton Festival of Speed were told in writing on Nov. 15, 2005 and Feb. 24, 2006 that their race did not have approval to proceed, primarily for safety reasons. The Cape Breton Festival of Speed, a motor sport racing event based on races on the Isle of Man, UK, was proposed for Sept. 20-24. Staff from the Department of Transportation and Public Works informed organizers that the Motor Vehicle Act does not support the racing of vehicles on public highways and that the department could not give approval to close roads for the event. “There have been numerous deaths associated with this event elsewhere in the past,” said Angus MacIsaac, Minister of Transportation and Public Works. “Our first priority is to ensure safe access to public roads and highways and this race would put the public and racers at risk of serious injury or death.” Staff from the Department of Transportation and Public Works and the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, met with organizers again this week to reiterate government’s position. “In spite of being informed of the department’s position on the race, organizers continued to plan and promote the event. The news this week should not have come as a surprise,” Mr. MacIsaac added. The proposed race would have taken place on a 53 kilometre route through Port Morien, Birch Grove, and Albert Bridge. The race would have directly affected over 500 residences, two elementary schools, two churches, six cemeteries, numerous small businesses, and many private lanes. It would have required extended road closures and affected travel times to the regional hospital. “We understand that the organizers have worked hard on this event and that many people are disappointed,” said Judy Streatch, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “We also recognize the potential tourism and economic benefits, but the province had to make safety our top priority in this case. How do you measure economic benefits against even one life lost?” The event was listed as a signature event in the 2006 Doers and Dreamers Guide and other tourism publications. As a marketing agency, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage does not approve events. The onus is on the organizers to ensure all the necessary permits and approvals are in place. Because of the early publishing deadlines for the Doers and Dreamers Guide and other tourism publications, the department must often list events that are in the planning stages. Some event changes or cancellations are made every year and they are communicated through all tourism promotional channels. Ms. Streatch has asked staff to meet with the Festivals and Events Council to review the process for listing signature events.
Drilling for oil in Arctic circle off Alaska’s coast suspended as Shell pulls back AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Toby Sterling, The Associated Press Posted Jan 30, 2014 2:06 am MDT Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO Ben Van Beurden speaks during a press conference with CFO Simon Henry, left, to give detail on the group’s 4th quarter 2013 results in London, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. In Shell Oil’s latest setback in the United States, the company’s new CEO has said the company won’t drill in the Arctic circle off Alaska’s shore in 2014, and may never do so. The decision by Ben van Beurden follows a negative Federal court decision last week. Environmentalists are still challenging whether the government’s 2008 decision to open the area to exploration was correctly granted in the first place. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) AMSTERDAM – Oil companies’ rush to find reserves off Alaska’s Arctic shores suffered a setback on Thursday after Shell said it would suspend its operations in the region — and possibly withdraw for good.Royal Dutch Shell PLC is the main company to have purchased leases for oilfields off Alaska’s Arctic shores, but its attempts to drill have been halting due to technical and legal hurdles.While other companies are still seeking to exploit deep-water Arctic fields nearby in Canada, Shell’s troubles may indicate the troubles outweigh the potential economic benefits.“We will not drill in Alaska in 2014, and we are reviewing our options there,” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told reporters in London.Shell received a negative Federal court decision last week. Environmentalists are still challenging whether the government’s 2008 decision to open the area to exploration was correctly granted in the first place: it is covered by sea ice for much of the year.Asked whether Thursday’s retreat means the project is finished, Van Beurden said that depends in part on how the ongoing lawsuit proceeds.Environmental activists cried victory.“Shell’s Arctic failure is being watched closely by other oil companies, who must now conclude that this region is too remote, too hostile and too iconic to be worth exploring,” Greenpeace International Arctic oil campaigner Charlie Kronick said in a reaction.Jacqueline Savitz, the U.S. chief of the Oceana conservationist group, said Shell’s retreat shows that offshore drilling in the Arctic is “simply not a good bet from a business perspective.”Shell’s troubles in Alaska are only the most visible in a series of setbacks for the company in the U.S., and Van Beurden hinted he won’t prioritize investments there in the future.While oil prices remain high globally, “North America natural gas prices and associated crude markers remain low, and industry refining margins are under pressure” Van Beurden said.Last month, Shell said it was scrapping a $20 billion dollar project to develop an onshore natural gas-to-diesel facility in Louisiana.Van Beurden’s predecessor, Peter Voser, spent billions building up the company’s portfolio of U.S. shale properties to $26 billion, only to write $2 billion off their value last summer.“Yes, we went into North America in a big way. You could argue that we went a little bit too far too soon. But we are where we are,” Van Beurden said.He described the North American shale market as “a different game, a very efficient market, and the sort of pressures you have there are therefore fundamentally different from what you would have in places like Russia, Argentina.”Still, Shell’s Arctic misadventures stand out.After purchasing licenses for $2.1 billion in the Chukchi sea off Alaska’s coast in 2008, Shell began preliminary drilling in the summer of 2012.But it was unable to get far after difficulties deploying an oil containment system it had on standby in the event of a spill. Then was forced to retreat because of approaching winter ice.Then one of its rigs was damaged while being transported on Dec. 31, 2012, and no drilling took place in 2013.CFO Simon Henry said Thursday Shell wrote around $1 billion off the value of its Alaskan business in 2013.“The group’s exploration near the North Pole cost billions of dollars and generated reams of negative press – yet not a single drop of oil has been pumped” said Garry White, Chief Investment Correspondent at British brokerage Charles Stanley.“Like the mining sector, capital discipline has been lacking at the major oil groups and there is pressure from shareholders to cut back investment to improve cash flows,” he said. “Shell appears to be listening.”Van Beurden said Shell will cut spending by $9 billion this year and is targeting $15 billion in asset sales.Investors generally cheered the company’s plans, and shares were up 2 per cent at 26.27 euros in early Amsterdam trading.Van Beurden’s strategy “is pretty much what we believe the market wanted to hear,” said Investec analyst Neill Morton in a note.But Morton predicted further writedowns of Shell’s North American shale assets.Shell’s reported fourth quarter net profit of $1.78 billion (130 billion euros), down 74 per cent on the $6.73 billion reported a year earlier. The big fall was due to higher production costs, lower production, and worse refining margins. The swing was also exaggerated by one-off items during the two periods. Production was down 5 per cent to 3.25 million barrels per day.