EDITOR, The Tribune.
THE public needs a lot more information about the proposed Liquefied Natural Gas facility at Clifton Pier before we can feel comfortable that it will be in our best interests.
First of all, when will we be able to see the proposal made by Shell North America, so we can decide for ourselves if it is worth the environmental risks? Secondly, does the deal include plans to clean up that highly polluted area, and if not, are we not simply adding insult to injury by placing another fuel facility there? Where and when will we be able to see an Environmental Impact Assessment, which the law says must be conducted?
It’s been said the facility will work based on “tri-fuel” power generation. That means a combination of liquid natural gas and the diesel and heavy fuel oil that we have been using for years and which has proven too expensive, unreliable and very polluting to our precious environment.
So, what happened to the government’s commitment to renewable energy? What happened to lowering our power bills? Why not a facility that burns cleaner, less expensive LNG, and works along with solar and/or wind power? This model is being used with great success around the world today and there is no reason why Shell or any other large company could not bring it here.
Why are we still using dirty fuel when there is no need, and when it costs more than it’s worth? Could it be that Shell, as one of the main suppliers of this dirty fuel to the government of The Bahamas, simply wants to keep that sweet deal going indefinitely?
Another question: The company said they plan to run power from Blue Hills as well. Does this mean an overland pipeline carrying potentially volatile and dangerous LNG across the middle of the island? Also, how long will it take to build this facility and when will it be up and running?
There are far too many unanswered questions surrounding this deal for the public to feel comfortable about it. On the surface, it sounds like more of the same mediocrity and disregard for the environment that Bahamians have grown so tired of. Or possibly, it might be something even worse.
There were other proposed plans on the table and Bahamians deserve to see all of the proposals, or at least a summary of what each company planned to do, so we can make our own decision as to whether the government chose the right partner. If the aim was to free us of reliance on the dirtiest fossil fuels, it would seem on the face of it, that they did not.
What happened to government in the sunshine? What happened to an end to secret deals? If this LNG deal goes the same way as the Oban fiasco, all smoke and mirrors and sleazy handshakes behind closed doors, the Minnis administration can really be said to have followed in the unsavory footsteps of their predecessors, Christie & Co.
April 25, 2018.