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‘Threat to climate yet we’re okay to drill’

THE STENA Icemax.

THE STENA Icemax.

THE Bahamas National Trust has declared it is “categorically opposed to oil exploration in The Bahamas.”

“The BNT stands with every Bahamian speaking out against the proposed oil exploration in our ocean nation,” the organisation said in a statement recently.

The Bahamas Petroleum Company will begin its oil exploration work in the southern Bahamas before Christmas.

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ACTIVISTS from Greenpeace protest the drillship Stena Icemax before it leaves port in the Canary Islands last week.

BPC has argued that it has reduced the environmental risks surrounding its first exploratory well to an irreducible minimum. It says it has obtained all necessary approvals, including an environmental authorisation and go-ahead for its environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan.

The BNT nonetheless said: “Bahamian communities rely on healthy ocean ecosystems to support jobs in fishing, recreation, and tourism. The oil industry’s track record in often failing to protect the environment effectively makes such developments too big a risk to be allowed in our fragile ocean nation.

“An oil spill can irreversibly damage our oceans, threaten our tourism industry, and our very way of life. The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster proves that no amount of reward from oil drilling is worth the risks of a potential disaster.

“The proposed initial well by BPC is incredibly close to the Cay Sal Bank, one of the most ecologically productive and economically important marine systems in the country.

“The Cay Sal Bank Marine Protected Area (MPA) was declared a protected area by the Bahamas government in September 2015. The Cay Sal MPA protects thriving marine life inclusive of commercially important species, most notably one of the last remaining viable populations of the queen conch. This large MPA also protects crucial marine mammal habitats, coral reefs, seagrass meadows and open ocean ecosystems.”

BNT Executive Director Eric Carey said the country risks turning its coastal tourist destination into an oil nation.

“The nation’s tourism industry relies on clean, swimmable waters and healthy ocean ecosystems to thrive. Oil drilling and exploration threaten clean coastal economies,” the BNT’s statement said.

“Furthermore, The Bahamas is known to be one of the most vulnerable nations on the planet to the impending impacts of climate change, which is now recognised as an existential threat to The Bahamas. The country, our people, and our way of life could disappear if we are not successful as a global community in reversing the factors of a changing climate.

“The Bahamas has stood in the presence of the United Nations, demanding urgent action to combat climate change. We cannot therefore cry out to the world that our country is being severely threatened by climate change, and still allow the exploration for fossil fuels, one of the main drivers of climate change on the planet.

“The country would be sending a careless signal of hypocrisy to the world. The benefits of fossil fuels are finite and insignificant compared to the cost of global climate change. We should not compound the damage of increased storm activity and sea levels due to global climate change with the risks associated with oil exploration. Drilling for oil would require us to ignore the damage of Hurricane Dorian and other storms. We would be overlooking the harm done to Grand Bahama in the Equinor spill. We would be turning a blind eye to obvious risks to our own well-being.”

This comes after the 750-foot Stena IceMAX drillship has sailed from the Canary Islands en route to Grand Bahama in preparation to drill an exploratory oil well off the coast of West Andros.

The ship sailed last week in the face of notification that attorneys are in the process of filing judicial review proceedings, asking the Supreme Court to scrutinise BPC’s environmental approvals process. Among the points raised is the absence of a proper public consultation process as mandated by law.

Activists from Greenpeace protested the drillship before it left port in the Canary Islands last week.

Comments

DWW 2 years ago

so what exactly are the terms of the permit? are we like norway or nigeria? people or pure profit?

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DWW 2 years ago

since its so quiet on this subject I along with everyone else will assume the terms are not advantageous to the Bahamas generally but only to a select few.

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Proguing 1 year, 12 months ago

Well which country do we resemble most?

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K4C 2 years ago

Atlantic Canada has a thriving offshore oil and natural gas industry, would it make SENSE if the Bahamas Gvt would seek some advice ?

The Gvt could also seek advice from Norway and UK

BUT

they won't

it would be helpful and make sense if the anti drilling people STOP using BS images for their cause

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Porcupine 1 year, 12 months ago

We have sought advice from the experts. ALL have said drilling for oil must cease. The advice we have sought comes from those who have only our well-being in mind. The experts you propose have money alone on their mind. Who should we be seeking advice from? The one's who say drill baby drill? Or, the ones who have studied the planet, the patient, and have arrived at a reasonable conclusion? I am an anti-driller and I have relied on scientific facts alone. K4C, you another paid shill? I think you are. Do you really care about Bahamians and our country? Or, just what you can get and then run? Pretty clear to me.

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K4C 1 year, 12 months ago

NOT paid shill

I gave UP on the Bahamas the day it became independent, so far my concerns have been verified many many time of it's demise

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bahamianson 2 years ago

the world is running away from oil , and we are running to it? How strange. How are they going to make any money when the united nations is trying to stamp out the use of oil by 2030?

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Porcupine 1 year, 12 months ago

They would prefer you, and us, not to know this.

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tribanon 2 years ago

Minnis has obviously been conned into believing he personally has a horse in this race whereby oil exploration has (in his small mind) become more important to his political survival than our natural environment and heritage.

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TalRussell 1 year, 12 months ago

It has become the more noticeably newsworthy by listeners' The Revolution with Juan McCartney who are detecting how talkie show host Comrade Juan, seems have become much less obsessed about Mr. Minnis goin' ons now havin' shifting his focus on analysing the motives of a lesser target Comrade Anton, the talkie show's most ardent PLP supporter caller to his Guardian talkie show.
Shakehead a quick once for upyeahvote more heavyhanded pressure lay off Mr. Minnis now being exerted from the top by Juan's station bosses. a slow twice for not?

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Porcupine 1 year, 12 months ago

The Bahamas National Trust is exactly right on all points. How can we stop this money lust madness? Whether or not the majority of Bahamians realize it, this threatens our entire nation. What we gonna do?

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Newgate 1 year, 12 months ago

If safety measures are heavily implemented and rapid response teams are put in place to handle issues ASAP are implemented, I'm all for oil. The bahamas has limited resources and it's tourism could come under threat. The world is slowly moving away from oil but there is still plenty time to make use of it (30-50 years at least imo) to boost our tourism. If we let this opportunity slip by the bahamas could have some real issues depending on how the certain things in this region go in the next 20 or so years. Our capital needs a serious uplift in terms of appearance and tourism should be expanded beyond nassau and freeport.

The only issue is this: can the government actually be competent for once and make sure the oil is exploited safely and used to better the bahamas as a whole?

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tribanon 1 year, 12 months ago

There is no oil and you BPC guys know it. It's the dumb 'Hail Mary' investors you guys are fleecing that don't know it. LOL

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