BAHAMAS oil drilling opponents are thanking Ballyhoo Media for its “fantastic” effort to warn South Floridians of the dangers of offshore drilling, set to commence in days just a stone’s throw away from their shores.
Over the past few weeks, Ballyhoo Media, a pioneering water-based multi-media company, hosted large digital billboards reading “Stop oil drilling in The Bahamas” and featuring images of the pristine beauty of the country’s marine environment, as well as the horrors of recent drilling disasters.
The Miami company’s custom-built barges displayed the billboards just off some of South Florida’s busiest beaches, in full view of beachgoers.
“We thank Ballyhoo Media so much for donating these fantastic billboards,” said Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, executive director of the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF). “There has been an outpouring of support from people around the world who care about The Bahamas and who are standing with the Bahamians who are opposing the plans for oil drilling.
“South Florida and The Bahamas are connected by ocean currents and we are glad that so many businesses in South Florida realise the risk that an oil drilling industry would pose to our shared fishery and coastal resources, and that they are taking action to stop the drilling.”
Ms McKinney-Lambert is a member of the steering committee for Our Islands, Our Future, a broad-based grassroots coalition that is opposing the current drill project by UK-based Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) and advocating for a permanent ban on all oil drilling in Bahamian territory. The group has attracted support from many local businesses, individuals and NGOs, and numerous international groups have flocked to the cause in recent months.
Its petition for a drilling ban is approaching 70,000 signatures.
A spokesperson for Ballyhoo Media said of the billboard effort: “We need to fight for The Bahamas. South Florida and The Bahamas are close neighbours and share many mutually beneficial relationships. Unfortunately, when it comes to offshore oil drilling in the narrow waters between our shores, we also share the danger of huge destruction to our marine ecology and local economy. As a water-based small business, we are on the front lines to fight for our oceans and marine life.
“Ballyhoo Media’s partnership with BREEF, Oceana and Our Islands, Our Future is meant to sound the alarm for our community and politicians on this urgent issue. We see this as performing a service for our own community as well as supporting our friends who are fighting this in The Bahamas.”
The billboards feature several striking images, including an aerial view of the Deepwater Horizon disaster which exploded in 2010 dumping 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, ruining whole ecosystems and fouling thousands of miles of coastline.
Other images include a pod of dolphins swimming near the proposed drill site on the west side of Andros Island. According to activists, studies have raised the alarm that BPC’s project could significantly impact marine mammals that use the area.
Award-winning nature photographer Shane Gross contributed an image of a turtle interacting with a scuba-diver. The local dive industry, an important cog in The Bahamas’ economy, is under grave threat from the drill and dive operators have spoken out in opposition to the project.