November 12, 2020
Advocates deliver second letter to PM as grassroots coalition sees more than 50 businesses and organisations sign on as supporters
As a petition against offshore oil drilling in the Bahamas achieves 40,000 signatories and counting, advocates delivered another letter to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis urging him to revoke all existing drilling licenses and place a country-wide ban on fossil fuel exploration.
In the letter grassroots coalition Our Islands, Our Future noted that more than 50 local and international businesses and organisations are supporting their push for an oil-drilling ban and said this number is growing by the day.
“This coalition wants to provide you with all the relevant information so that your government is in a position to make the best decision for the future of the Bahamas and its coastal economy, which generates $7,696,200,000 and supports 122,257 jobs,” the letter said. “We also want to highlight the fact that Bahamas Petroleum Company has had no discussion of protecting vulnerable, threatened or endangered species, or unique and vulnerable areas.
“The EIA and EMP fail to identify irreplaceable unique and sensitive areas, and given that oil fate and transport modeling has shown that oil is likely to impact a huge area, from Grand Bahama to Cuba to the US, under realistic unplanned events (blowouts and spills), it is foreseeable that a number of these sensitive areas will be severely impacted.”
As part of its outreach campaign, the coalition released a new video this week warning of the grave dangers of oil drilling to the ecology and economy of the Bahamas. Bahamas Petroleum Company executives are seen touting the prospective benefits for their shareholders even while admitting that “issues” with the project will arise, as oil exploration is not like “mowing the lawn”.
“BPC execs say drilling will have a ‘short term high impact’, presumably in terms of profit for this overseas company and its shareholders,” said Rashema Ingraham, executive director of Waterkeeper Bahamas and member of the coalition steering committee. “But what about us? The impact will surely be very high but also very long term for the Bahamas in terms of environmental destruction, in terms of our tourism industry, our fishing and diving sectors.”
Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, executive director of the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF), said: “This company has done nothing to convince us it is prepared to deal with the existential threat that their plan poses to the Bahamas. This is the same kind of exploratory well that resulted in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico 10 years ago and were such a catastrophe to occur here, there would literally be no future for us.”
McKinney-Lambert, who is also a member of Our Islands, Our Future steering committee, added: “Our coalition is growing quickly. In addition to many international partners, local businesses and concerned individuals are joining the effort to protect the future for our children. We urge the Prime Minister to heed the will of the people and protect us all from
The video and petition can both be found at: https://ourislandsourfuture.org/