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News of oil drilling approval disappoints environmentalists

Several environmentalists yesterday expressed disapproval over Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) being given the go-ahead for exploratory oil drilling in Bahamian waters.

“I am disgusted with the way we’ve been treated by this government,” said Sam Duncombe, co-founder of reEarth.

“You know, they act as though all the science out there means absolutely nothing…”

She added that the government’s actions are “cutting out the legs of future generations”.

Save The Bays Chairman Joe Darville said, “This comes as a bummer and an amazing surprise because a large number of environmentalists met with senior government officials in recent times, probably about two months ago or a little bit more, to get our sense and feeling on this whole issue to do with oil drilling, even exploration, you know, within the waters of The Bahamas.

“And after all of us had given our 100 percent objection to any such activity taking place in our waters we were assured that it was off the table as far as our government was concerned.

“And so, this comes as an extreme and disconcerting surprise that permission has now been given for further extension, for permission to do exploration for oil in our waters.”

BPC announced recently that the government gave it permission to work toward drilling an exploratory oil well before the end of 2020.

A senior government official confirmed the approval.

Darville added that they were assured that a referendum would be taken to determine whether the government would move forward with oil drilling.

He said he found it strange that the news was broken by the company without any word from the government and compared it to the controversial Oban deal for an oil refinery and storage facility in East Grand Bahama.

Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert suggested yesterday that the government’s priorities are misplaced.

“The Bahamas is particularly vulnerable to climate change that is driven by burning fossil fuels,” McKinney-Lambert said.

“Instead of drilling for oil in our sensitive marine environment, we really need to be prioritizing renewable energy production and consumption.

“The Bahamas should be a leader in green renewable energy and leading the way in protecting our environment.”

Laurent Rolle

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Laurent started at The Nassau Guardian in May 2018 as a paginator. He transitioned to reporting in February 2019. Laurent has covered multiple crime stories. He is the author of “Yello”, which was published in February 2019.
Education: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) 3rd Year
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