"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning
office for the last nine month."
"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see
them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your
way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually
telling anybody or anything."
"But the plans were on display ..."
"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find
"That's the display department."
"With a torch."
"Ah, well the lights had probably gone."
"So had the stairs."
"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"
"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom
of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a
sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."
Canadian regulators relaxed offshore drilling regulations late last year, giving the energy industry more flexibility when putting in place safeguards against oil spills.
Previously, companies were required to install specific kinds of equipment, such as safety valves and blowout preventers. The old regulations outlined everything from how companies should cement the casing on an oil well, to how they should conduct pressure tests.
Under the new regulations, which came into force in December, well operators must set environmental-protection goals, list the equipment they will use to achieve those goals and disclose their plans for inspecting, testing and maintaining such gear. But they are not required to install specific equipment.
A spokeswoman for the National Energy Board said the new regulations represent a "modern" approach that allows companies to use different environmental-protection technologies, depending on the nature of the project.
"What if we were to specify that there must be a blowout preventer, and some innovation comes along where there's actually something better?" said Sarah Kiley. "A goal-based approach allows for innovation, that technology advancement."