Bahamian environmentalists oppose oil refinery plans

Oil refinery, Aruba. Image: David Stanley

In The Bahamas, environmental activists are voicing vehement opposition to the plans for offshore oil exploration and the construction of an oil refinery on Grand BahamaTribune 242 reports:

A host of environmental groups have formed an alliance to appeal to the government to reject moves for offshore drilling and to abandon the planned Oban oil refinery in Grand Bahama.

Non-profit organisation Save the Bays (STB), along with the newly formed Environmental Alliance (EA) are pleading with the government to consider the impact oil drilling would have on the marine ecosystem.

Environmental Alliance makes representation for environmental advocacy groups including Bahamas 350 Climate Action, Bahamas Plastics Movement, reEarth, Raising Awareness Bahamas Landfill (RABL), Rise Bahamas, and the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF).

Save the Bays chairman Joseph Darville said the government runs the risk of becoming “an enemy of the environment”, if they carry on with their current habits regarding fossil fuels.

He questioned whether the FNM administration has lived up to its pre-election promises in a press statement, in which he criticized several upcoming projects he predicts will prolong the country’s dependence on petroleum products.

“The Oban oil refinery in Grand Bahama, an LNG plant at Clifton – instead of moving us away from dangerous, polluting petroleum products, this government seems to be entrenching The Bahamas in a long-term reliance on the curse of fossil fuels. This is the opposite of what Dr Minnis and his colleagues said on the campaign trail,” he said.

“I sincerely hope that this new proposal for offshore drilling in our precious waters is outright rejected. If not, this FNM government, despite all of its promises, could end up going down in history as yet another administration that turned out to be an enemy of the environment,” Mr Darville continued.

Environmentalists understand and accept the need for new projects,” he said, “in particular those that will create employment opportunities, but development must be pursued both responsibly and progressively, with an eye to creating the kind of society future generations of Bahamians would be proud to live in.”

Mr Darville insisted the government should decline the Oban deal, due to the major risk it poses on the marine ecosystem of East Grand Bahama.

He added the government should not grant any licences for offshore oil drilling, because it could be the “death knell” for the marine environment.

Read more in the full Tribune 242 story.

Previously on Green Antilles: Bahamas government approves oil refinery construction and Caribbean oil discoveries trigger big offshore technology contracts.

[Image: via David Stanley]

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