0

Us Call To Halt Bahamian Oil

By Leandra Rolle 

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

MORE than a dozen US Congress members have voiced opposition to offshore drilling in Bahamian waters, and have asked the US State Department to urge the Bahamian government to stop plans for offshore drilling in the country.

The 16 US Congressmen and women noted their reservations about the planned drilling by Bahamas Petroleum Company in a letter dated April 17, sent to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Charge d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers.

“The United States cannot afford another Deepwater Horizon disaster,” the letter read. “This bipartisan group of members respects the sovereignty of the Bahamas, but a spill in Bahamian waters could bring ruin to both of our countries’ shorelines.

“Ten years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, we call on Secretary Pompeo to urge the Bahamian government to reconsider its efforts to green-light dirty offshore oil drilling in a region so full of magnificent ecosystems and so dependent on international tourism.”

The letter added that oil spills do not respect state or national boundaries.

“Since the exploratory drilling proposed for next month is only 150 miles from Florida’s coast, and another licence area is only 50 miles from Miami oil slicks from BPC’s drilling activities could affect any Bahamian island as well as the East Coast of the United States. Oil is toxic to marine life and a spill in Bahamian waters could quickly damage vibrant corals, kill off seagrass beds and coat important mangrove ecosystems, which are important carbon sinks.”

The letter says the Congressmen and women hope these concerns are conveyed to the Bahamian government.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was caused by an April 20, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig—located in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

It is the largest oil spill in history.

Adding their support to the US officials’ stance on the matter, local activists also called on government officials “to heed” concerns by the American legislators.

In a press statement released yesterday, Waterkeeper Bahamas executive director, Rashema Ingraham said: “The United States is by far the most important trading partner and strategic ally for the Bahamas, and it would be highly irresponsible for our government to ignore their valid concerns.”

Noting the proposal as a “critical threat” to the country’s marine environment, she said the situation could also prove potentially catastrophic for foreign relations with the US.

“Oil drilling would endanger the entire east coast of the United States, a nation still feeling the effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster a decade ago. Our tourism industry is currently being held hostage by the global COVID-19 pandemic and thousands of Bahamians are out of work,” she continued.

“We must do all we can to preserve our good relationship with the United States as the Bahamas seeks to recover from the grave economic fallout. Now is not the time to anger our closest friends.”

Meanwhile, Save The Bays chairman Joseph Darville added: “Congress members are absolutely justified in heeding the lessons of history. Even under the best possible conditions, oil drilling is extremely hazardous; whereas in the Bahamas, we do not have an adequate regulatory regime to govern this industry, nor the resources to mitigate a massive spill.”

He also called on the government to remember the assistance received by the US government in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

“It is our turn to be good neighbours and reciprocate that generosity of spirit,” he added.

Echoing similar sentiments was executive director of the Bahamas Reef Environment and Educational Foundation, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, who noted that the country cannot afford another “massive setback”, having gone through Hurricane Dorian last September and now experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a country dependent on tourism and fisheries, the Bahamas cannot the afford the risk to our country that oil drilling in our waters would pose,” she said.

BPC, which has spent more than a decade on its exploration project, is aiming to drill its first exploratory well by October in waters some 100 miles south-west of Andros, and close to the maritime boundary with Cuba.

The Minnis administration paved the way for the explorer to proceed by recently approving its environmental authorisation.

Noting that the the country is at “a crossroads” over the issue, Environment and Housing Minister Romauld Ferreria told Tribune Business last month that the country had reached the stage where it “needs to know” if BPC’s decade-plus exploration work will translate into the discovery of commercial oil fields below the nation’s seabed.

“We are essentially tourism, financial services and fisheries,” he said.

“The country needs another industry. We have to make a decision. Are we going to find out if it exists in commercial quantities? The real fundamental issue at play here is: Do we have oil? That is the $1bn question everyone wants answered. We have to drill a well to make a final determination.”

Comments

proudloudandfnm 1 year, 9 months ago

But the US can continue to drill offshore closer to their coast than our site? Pulease....

0

truetruebahamian 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes but fallout and resulting problems arising from their bad decisions will only affect them. No problem there!

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 9 months ago

Also the US has the means to ensure any mess made in their waters gets cleaned up as was demonstrated in the Deep Water Horizon incident.

James Smith was all along dead wrong in allowing himself to be used by the foreign stakeholders of BPC in a most insidious way to try sway influence with our government and its regulators.

All it ever takes is a few well place phone calls by the right Bahamians who put the well-being of our country and its people over personal greed.

0

John 1 year, 9 months ago

With oil currently as low as $15 a barrel was this NOT to be expected? Will it be wise to stagger plans for drilling until favorable markets return? Will the discovery of oil in The Bahamas lead to situations similar to what has happened in Venezuela? Does the drilling company pave contingency plans in the event of an oil spill? Can they afford a multi- dollar clean up and the potential lawsuits? At least in the current oil market?

0

Porcupine 1 year, 9 months ago

This is time for a reset. Think this through. Look at the evidence. There is no way more than a handful of Bahamians will monetarily profit from this foolish tilting at the windmill. The age of oil needs to come to an end. We must recognize that it is not smart to drill for oil in Bahamian waters. Yes, it is time for a new industry. Can we not be creative for a change. And, Romauld Ferrerier needs to go. He is definitely not an advocate for the Bahamian environment in anything but talk.

1

mandela 1 year, 9 months ago

The Bahamas needs another source of income. The Bahamas needs a turbo boost to take us out of this present crisis, further and beyond. Whether oil is this source or not one thing is certain. Tourism is and has been maxed-out, the financial sector is beyond maxed out and fast disappearing. All in all, we have another 5000 persons leaving school and are eligible to enter the job market this year. If the Bahamas thinks to concentrate on a maxed-out Tourism and a maxed-out financial sector is going to get us there, then only heaven can save us ALL:

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 9 months ago

You forgot to mention the 5,000 illegal aliens that are still coming to our shores each year, especially now when our southern territorial waters are not being aggressively patrolled by either our Defense Force or the US Coast Guard.

0

joeblow 1 year, 9 months ago

I certainly do not agree with drilling for oil in our waters (too much can go wrong), but how likely is the US to listen to our concerns about their drilling near our waters? They wouldn't give us the time of day!

0

moncurcool 1 year, 9 months ago

Ditto.

So I say drill baby drill. The Bahamas must look out for the Bahamas just like those US politicians are looking out for - guess who?- the US.

0

NationalistsNeeded 1 year, 9 months ago

The thing I'm not hearing is the plan for this oil. What do the Bahamian people stand to gain from this oil. Will we be like Dubai and Norway or simply have to standby as our natural resources are destroyed and a few Bahamian millionaires become richer? I would love to hear an honest, knowledgeable answer. P.S. before you answer do your research.

0

stislez 1 year, 9 months ago

Dis wa i don't understand, so the Bahamian people been telling dese man dem we aint want yall drill look fa no oil to go mess up the environment. They ignore their own people(as always) lets see if they gone ignore the usa.. If they do take heed to what the usa man dem sayin den we know where we stand as bahamian people(like we aint already kno)

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 9 months ago

Even if miraculously great reserves of oil do exist anywhere in our territorial waters, it would by no means be a panacea for our economic woes. Venezuela has the largest proven quantity of oil reserves in the world - more than even Saudi Arabia - and look what it has done for that country and the Venezuelan people.

The stance the US is now publicly taking towards any kind of oil drilling in our territorial waters, is also the same stance that it should be taking with respect to the cruise ships that ply our waters causing so much pollution and damage to our environment. US policy on this matter should at least be consistent, and the cruise ship companies currently known to cause the greatest amount of damage to our environment, especially Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney, should be banned forever more from our territorial waters. As a country we need to turn our backs away from these monstrous pollution emitting and shiit dumping floating hotels that are also filthy incubators for lethal pathogens like the Red China Virus.

1

jamani2 1 year, 9 months ago

It is a pithy that the call to not drill in our waters have to come from outside of our country. This is the most preposterous idea to have ever been approved by governments of the Bahamas. Let me put it to you this way: take away the pristine beaches and clear crystal waters of the Bahamas and what do you have? what's our number one industry?

Makes no sense!

0

NationalistsNeeded 1 year, 9 months ago

Agreed, no plans have bern made as to what will be done for the country with the wealth generated either.

0

ted4bz 1 year, 9 months ago

When the US don’t want you to do something you better don’t. Our government are US deputies and defiant of the us orders will be detrimental. All competitions to the US is either a threat or terrorist state to the US. Sovereignty don’t exist unless you have nukes and cash. The Bahamas government better find its corner and do as it is told and stop pretending it’s in charge around here or else.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 9 months ago

In diplomatic parlance you're either a friend (ally) or a foe (enemy). Allies stand alongside each other whereas enemies stand opposed. When it come to US relations, we should all know by now who's bread gets buttered and who usually ends up with the very harsh short end of the stick. I fear Minnis's ego, saviour complex and power trip are all getting the better of him, causing him to become an increasingly annoying gnat to the US which risks the Bahamas getting smacked. Let's hope he can catch himself before he crosses the line and takes us over the edge.

0

jamani2 1 year, 9 months ago

But, I don't think that is the main point. The point is--again--why would WE want to risk polluting OUR environment, when our livelihood depends on the environment?

Makes no sense to me, whatsoever!

1

Sickened 1 year, 9 months ago

Our country is going down, no two ways about it. Why not go down getting as much money from oil as we possibly can?

0

NationalistsNeeded 1 year, 9 months ago

Tell me, if we do go ahead drilling, how much will the people of the Bahamas actually benefit. Bahamas Petroleum is not a state owned entity. All the money will be taken out of the country as usual and only the pockets of Bahamians that are already wealthy (mostly Politicians) will get some of the crumbs from their shares.

0

Socrates 1 year, 9 months ago

With oil prices set to stay below $50 a barrel for the next few years, i doubt BPC could make a case to explore and get to the market with a profit at that price point.

0

sheeprunner12 1 year, 9 months ago

It is an exploratory drill ………… nothing may come out of it for the next 10 years …… if ever.

We can make more of our sand and salt reserves right now if we set up local industries

2

ThisIsOurs 1 year, 9 months ago

Weird. What took them so long? Well see, Trump is friend to big oil and Halliburton was said to be part of this deal. It's the last thing the Bahamas needs, it would be the end of us...though all the tourism gone anyway.. at least they wouldnt be able to say we've never done this before...

0

bcitizen 1 year, 9 months ago

While I do not agree with us destroying our country to drill for oil. The US has oil rigs close to its shoreline all over the gulf which do pose a threat to us by way of the gulf stream flow. If they really do not want us to drill for fear of damage to the US east coast could there be some kind off subsidy or payment to us in lieu of us pumping oil? That would only be fair. If we are not allowed to access a natural resource if it exists by request of another country they they should be willing to pony up some cash in lieu of lost revenue.

0

GodSpeed 1 year, 9 months ago

If something goes wrong the Bahamas can't clean it up. Will be begging the US no doubt.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 9 months ago

The price of a barrel of oil nearly dipped below $4 today; less than the average price of a cup of coffee from Starbucks. Even bottled water per gallon costs much more! Yet Sir Snake still has us all paying the Shell Bahamas/FOCAL group that he controls a ridiculously high price per gallon at the gas pumps. Nothing but insatiable greed of the worst kind!

1

GodSpeed 1 year, 9 months ago

That's WTI oil futures for May, it's gone into the negative, hit -$40 as contracts are going to expire soon and the world has too much oil going around with everyone in lockdown among other factors. So people are ready to pay you to take the oil off of their hands. The minimum contract is for 55000 gallons of unrefined oil. BPL fuel surcharge should be nonexistent but I'm sure it won't go away. Gas prices should be going under a dollar in the Bahamas but I'm sure the station owners will collude to keep them high.

0

GodSpeed 1 year, 9 months ago

*1000 gallons is the minimum contract

0

TalRussell 1 year, 9 months ago

The Price sludge oil dropped today to US$15 barrel its lowest in 21 years and goin' continue falling - so don't even need US involvement to halt colony's offshore drilling.
Some years back I purchased petrol my motorcar in the US during service station price war among independent service station competitors, and they actually paid me ten cents gallon fo fill up my tank.

0

ConchFretter 1 year, 9 months ago

Who knew that oil prices could fall past zero to negative numbers?!? So... maybe not the best time to drill for oil.

[American oil crashes below $0 a barrel -- a record low] https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/20/invest...">https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/20/invest...

0

CrimsonFox242 1 year, 9 months ago

Let me just post my 2 cents and be on my way. First off its very counterproductive to have most of the article mainly stating radical environmentalist groups (who would see our country not prosper on oil as other countries did and rather cling to the vain hope of tourism and fisheries). Im not going to deal with the environmental people long because they are one in the same so let's list off some points:

  1. The Bahamas drilling will inevitably lead to Oil spill. ans: No just no, The oil explorer team has accomplished and experienced drill team on board they know how to handle themselves (they've been doing this on 25+ oil wells (NONE has spilled). Second the premise of this argument from the environmentalist is flawed why do they assume the government has no safety net or practically legislation on the books to handle oil spills? May I remind them that the Minister for environment is an environmental lawyer (As a legal minded person I can’t accurately convey the description of how useless a environment lawyer is outside of environment safety is, like they have a lot of free time) Believe me Romy isn’t gonna let the company haphazardly drill without the proper safety precautions.

  2. Bahamas should fear America. ans: Nope we really shouldn’t, America has oil explorations in plenty of countries with oil rigs off of the coast of other nations. They are still fine, NO huge oil spills on either of them at the current time. Lastly this may sound cliché but we are a SOVEREIGN COUNTRY that means we make our own rules, sure America can try to influence but Trump really doesn’t care nor does most republicans sooo it’s a dead move.

  3. The 15 congressmen and women. ans: So what? Most of them are either democrats who are environment hawks and maybe 1 republican who doesn’t know any better and trying to get brownie points in a purple district. Nobody in the trump admin cares, to see you all care about this in such a way and to try to use this in a meaningful way is laughable and embarrassing, there are over 400+ congressional seats and only 15 democrats came up and talked? Like who cares let them kick rocks.

  4. We should not use oil its dying. ans: Lies, its down at the current moment but as you should know that commodities fluctuate meaning they go down some and go up some. Right now it’s a bad time but that doesn’t mean its going to be down forever. That’s like saying during the great depression to not own stocks anymore cuz they are dead now and aren’t coming back.

  5. We could use other alternatives to oil. ans: Ok, list them because all I am hearing from the environment groups are fishes, fishes and tourism and look where that got us. I swear it takes a special kind of un-intelligence to spout those lines that I read in the above article like how can you say we can sell our fishes yet the same environmentalist are in the same groups who oppose us joining the WTO the same group we should be using to trade with other nations.

1

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 9 months ago

Okay Mr. Oil / WTO Supporter. Whatever you say.

0

bahamasdigital 1 year, 9 months ago

Oil is going anywhere no matter, what Green Movement says, until the PetroDollar (US$) disappears.

The oil we have in the ground can remain there for the next 100 years until technology improves that allows for harvesting with little or no risk to our pristine environment. Besides Sun, Sand, Sea & Service, we currently have trillions of dollars of other resources that poses no threat to the environment that can be tapped into.

Our GeoLocation, & our potential in the Blue, Green, Orange & Digital Economies are worth Trillions.

We only need to seek Competent Leadership that understands them and the intricacies of exploiting them as resources.

A good start is a national dialogue on the Sovereign Wealth Fund. First we begin a national Dialogue for Education of what a SWF is, as opposed to what many are promoting, its benefits, and the actual resources we posses and their applications in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

We need to junk the current junk legislation that establishes a SWF and begin agitating from today our current Members of Parliament to demand they support Reece Chipman request for a Select Committee on Our Natural Resources & a Real SWF Bill and include funding for such a request during the 2020/20212 Budget Debate.

C. Allen Johnson

1

sheeprunner12 1 year, 9 months ago

Please go and advise the PM …….. you are wasting your talent. SMH

0

Jim 1 year, 7 months ago

The Bahamians don't have the resources to clean up anything even when their economy was semi-functional after Hurricane Dorian. Hurricane dorian's aftermath is still a disaster, they just buried their unidentifed dead in May 2020. How did the cleanup of the oil disaster conclude on Grand Bahama Island during Dorian? Bahamas would only beg for international support if there were any oil spills. Their economy was not ruined by the Chinese virus but by their government's handling of the situation.

0

Sign in to comment