OIL activists took their protests over drilling in The Bahamas to Miami - with a billboard on a barge off the shore of Miami Beach. The move comes amid new claims that The Bahamas could be held liable in US courts for any oil spillage in Bahamian waters.
Photo: Logan Fazio
By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
ACTIVISTS from the Only One conservation platform are calling on Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to put a stop to proposed oil exploration, saying The Bahamas can be made liable in US courts should some form of spillage occur.
The Only One platform was founded in 2019 by Blue Sphere Foundation, Lonely Whale, and SeaLegacy organisations. It is committed to harnessing the power of media and technology to create and amplify stories that inspire action to protect the ocean, the planet, and each other.
The organisation erected an e-billboard on a boat which patrolled a beach in Miami recently which reads: “Stop oil drilling in The Bahamas. Sign the petition at stopbahamasoildrilling.com.”
The website has a statement on the proposed oil exploration by Bahamas Petroleum Company, pushing viewers to sign the petition with a message for Dr Minnis.
“We are at a pivotal point in Bahamian history,” the statement read. “The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) has announced its intention to begin offshore oil drilling in our pristine waters in a matter of months. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has one last chance to protect our nation’s economy and precious natural resources from the devastating ravages of oil pollution before it is too late.
“We ask you to join us in this urgent petition asking the prime minister to cancel all existing oil exploration licenses, reject all proposed renewals and impose a permanent ban on fossil fuel exploration anywhere within our maritime borders.”
The statement noted that this is the 10th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which dumped nearly 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, fouled 16,000 miles of coastline along five US states, utterly destroyed fisheries and caused an unprecedented and as yet untold level of damage to marine life.
“The Deepwater Horizon rig was an exploratory well, just like the one BPC intends to drill,” said the statement. “Even a partial repeat of that disaster would devastate our tourism, commercial fishing, diving, and marine recreation industries. Tourism alone generates 50 percent of our gross domestic product, while these other industries are vital to the survival of many far-flung communities. Simply put, drilling threatens our very way of life.”
The statement emphasised that any environmental damage to the US coast also exposes the Bahamas to the very real threat of massive liability actions in US courts.
“Those affected could also bring The Bahamas before international courts where our reputation would be publicly tarnished for all to see,” the activists said.
“Considering the swiftness and massive reach of the Gulf Stream and its close proximity to BPC’s proposed drilling site, the possible range of environmental devastation along the US coastline – and therefore the potential liability – is beyond calculation.”
BPC plans to drill an exploratory oil well in waters 90 miles west of Andros on December 15.