Monday, Sep 23, 2019
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AG: Equinor must speedily clean up environmental disaster

In this Saturday, September 7 photo, oil is shown outside the Equinor South Riding Point complex -– formerly Statoil – in High Rock, Grand Bahama. TRAVIS CARTWRIGHT-CARROLL

Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday he wants Equinor to speedily “clean up the mess” after an oil spill at its facility in Grand Bahama last week.

Wind from Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, skimmed oil off the top of the storage units for hours leading to the spill.

Speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, Bethel said, “We think that it’s been a little too much of a delay. We would appreciate some speedy action on that issue and anything else after that we’ll figure it out.”

Bethel added, “We understand that it has extended beyond Grand Bahama and is moved over towards the Abacos.

“They must use all of the necessary means to clean up this environmental disaster both on the ground in East End and also in the sea. Then we will discuss with them any other issues going forward.”

Equinor said in a press statement over the weekend that it is mobilizing its resources to safeguard people, the environment and the facility.

The company said there are no signs of continued leaks, or that oil was able to escape into the ocean.

Minister of the Environment Romauld Ferreira said yesterday, “At this stage, we are not assigning blame.

“We are responding to the spill. Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, human lives are much more important. Hurricane Dorian has impacted many, many Bahamian families, but obviously protecting our environment is still an important issue. After lives have been settled and restored, we need the environment to be restored.”

He noted that natural disasters, especially hurricanes, were common in the region.

However, Ferreira said that such facilities are “supposed to be designed to withstand these kinds of incidents”.

“I don’t know the full details,” he said.

“I don’t have a report as to how it happened. I don’t have an incident report, well the internally-generated report from Equinor which would determine what happened. But, we’re always concerned about protecting our environment.”

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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