Deal wants greater regulation of heavy equipment to protect environment

A local energy and environment advocate is calling for greater regulation of the heavy equipment industry in The Bahamas.

Deborah Deal, who once served as the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’s energy and environment division chair, said operators of heavy equipment should be trained to study the forestry and subdivision acts, so that they are more mindful of the impact their activities have on the environment.

“Global statistics have shown that the main contributor to greenhouse gases (GHGs) is the use of fossil fuels through energy, the transportation industry, which includes vehicles such as cars, buses, heavy equipment, pleasure boats, mail boats, yachts, freighters, cruise ships, small planes and jets, as well as back up energy generation for personal and commercial use,” she said in a written proposal on the strengthening of industry regulations.

“Here in The Bahamas, aircraft, freighters and cruise ships pass through and over our waters daily. The effects of the carbon are obvious on every roof and of course now in our dying reefs. One would 

assume that these issues are creating the biggest threat to our continued existence, but that is not the case. We, the population at large, construction industry, earth movers and diggers and the lack of enforcement of existing laws contributes to 70 percent of our GHGs by what is known as land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).”

Earlier this month, the government toured an area near Carmichael Road where scientists estimated roughly 500 acres of Crown land – which is a part of protected pine forests – had been illegally cleared. The deforestation is believed to have taken place since July last year, with the lumber being used for an unregulated coal manufacturing business.

Deal has called for regulations to govern who can purchase and import heavy equipment into the country, and more stringent requirements to obtain a business or excavation license for companies using heavy equipment.

“It is my estimation that the industry needs to be regulated for the sake of our future as a country, as a form of data collection and a brand new revenue stream for the Bahamas government,” she said.

“All equipment being brought into the country must be done so through a legitimate business license. All earth moving, excavation work, land filling, any action by the equipment must apply for a permit to do so.”

Minister of Transport and Housing JoBeth Coleby-Davis announced last year that the government would require heavy equipment operators to obtain a commercial driver’s license and become certified after a manual testing program.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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