Oil drilling a bad idea for The Bahamas

Dear Editor,

The latest debate in The Bahamas has been whether or not an oil industry, which includes offshore oil drilling and extraction, would be good for the country.

In this debate, as well as every other debate about the future of The Bahamas, it’s important to not only ask the right questions, but ask the right questions with an open mind regardless if you initially agree or disagree with the answers and arguments.

In a debate like this, it’s also very important to review all of the facts and statistics, and view the matter from a wide variety of perspectives, for example; a legal, technological, governmental, environmental, economic and ethical perspective.

There is no doubt that diversity is needed in our economy, but the reason we need this diversity is so we have something to fall back on in the event that the tourism industry (our main industry) takes another temporary blow.

In the event of an accidental oil spill, not only would that put a halt on the oil extraction, but it can also possibly affect the tourism and fishing industries, and can also result in us having to contribute money to oil clean up efforts.

We have seen some very devastating oil spills in the past that greatly damaged the surrounding areas environmentally and economically, but with these accidents came a demand for stricter regulations and better technology to mitigate the risk of a spill happening in the future, ultimately making it safer and more efficient to drill for and extract oil.

In the event that there is oil found in The Bahamas in quantities worth extracting, it’s imperative that it is done so under the recommended regulations and we must ensure that they are fully enforced.

We must also ensure that there are measures and systems in place to swiftly combat and quickly contain any accidents at a minimum expense to the country’s money and surrounding ecosystems.

Transparency should also be a key factor in this situation. Any information regarding oil drilling in The Bahamas that can be made available should be made available for the general public to review. If or when this information is available, the general public should review it, so that any opinions one should have about the topic can be based on complete facts.

I personally oppose offshore oil drilling in The Bahamas at this present time. My opposition comes mainly from an ethical and environmental standpoint.

Climate change is a very pressing issue, an issue that directly affects us as a nation both in the immediate and distant future.

Climate change isn’t a topic a vast majority of Bahamians pay attention to, but sadly we are so often hit with the ramifications of it in the form of strengthening hurricanes.

One of the largest contributors to the climate change crisis is the burning of oil. The oil may be extracted in a “responsible” way and may not necessarily be burned in The Bahamas, but at some point the oil will go through the combustion process one way or another, releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere as a by-product, adding to this already out of control crisis.

Climate change is a global issue, so just because the emissions wouldn’t be released from our dot on the map doesn’t exactly mean that we wouldn’t be largely contributing to the problem.

If we move forward with oil drilling we put ourselves at risk of having a weak and hypocritical argument when calling on other countries to drop their carbon emissions because climate change has such a detrimental effect on us.

Our job as citizens should be to not only progress but also preserve this land for future generations. In my view, extracting and exporting oil contradicts our very existence as a nation.

Bryant Lowe

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