The Freeport News was on the ground in East Grand Bahama, with a focus on getting a general understanding of the concerns residents have regarding the proposed Oban Energies Oil Storage & Refinery Plant in that district.
It was made clear, that while the residents have no problem whatsoever with an investment of great magnitude coming into the area to fuel the East Grand Bahama economy, as it is indeed needed; there was apprehension in terms of where the proposed project would be based, and potential hazardous affects to the natural environment, inclusive of the high freshwater table.
A view presented was that should the project simply involve crude oil storage as is the case at Statoil South Riding Point and other companies within the Industrial Park Center in the City of Freeport, then the level of concern would decrease considerably in comparison to Oban Energies establishing an oil refinery.
However, should there actually be a refinery, residents of East Grand Bahama as well as others concerned about maintaining the naturally pristine environment of the area, what to know to what degree would the refining process take place, as well as the impact it would undoubtedly have on the overall ecosystems there.
One resident who wished to remain anonymous posed questions:
“Will the integrity of beaches throughout East Grand Bahama like Gold Rock Beach and Pelican Point be maintained as well as the freshwater creeks, bird and other wildlife habitats?
“Can guarantees be given that there will be no oil spillage that could contaminate the freshwater table?
“Would transparent reports be given as to whether or not degrading of the natural environment occurs as a result of the establishment of a refinery?”
The Freeport News earlier had contacted Deputy Prime Minister and East Grand Bahama Member of Parliament K. Peter Turnquest for comments on the proposed Oban Energies Oil Storage & Refinery Plant controversy, however, up to press time no response had been received.
Meanwhile, the Grand Bahama community and The Bahamas at large patiently await insight on this matter, particularly as East Grand Bahama residents have voiced their concerns surrounding it and the seemingly short notice given for two town meetings that were scheduled to take place on Friday March 9, 2018 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in McLean’s Town; and the other at 7:00 p.m. in the High Rock community, which were ultimately postponed.
Reports reaching The Freeport News team revealed that the Deputy Prime Minister and MP for East Grand Bahama Turnquest was unable to participate due to other pressing matters in the capital island of New Providence. Thus the meetings were postponed.