The Government of The Bahamas and Oban Energies are now officially facing the opposition of the leading environment-associated organization in the country. The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) has always been very important in monitoring and maintaining the ecology characteristics of The Bahamas.
Earlier this week, the BNT went public with a lengthy statement decrying the circumstances surrounding the controversial Heads of Agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and Oban Energies (a Florida-based company) for a proposed oil refinery/storage plant in East Grand Bahama.
As has been lamented in this space on a number of occasions, and reiterated throughout the country by well-meaning citizens and organizations, the absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) does not sit well with the BNT. Also, the safety net in the HOA that holds The Bahamas hostage, is the “accord” that no matter the content of the eventual EIA report, we cannot pull out of the deal.
That is outrageous.
While the nation awaits a detailed statement from Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis regarding the Oban Energies issue, BNT has indicated that it is dead set against the project, no doubt, concerned about a number of factors directly connected. This is a national matter that the government would be best minded to canvass comprehensively, the views of all environment stakeholders before going forward with Oban Energies on the project.
The BNT’s statement is a big shot across the bow of the proposed agreement the government has with Oban Energies. It is noteworthy that in this case, strong opposing views to the deal are being expressed by a semi-quasi-government agency that is significantly funded by the government annually.
Following is a pertinent portion of the BNT’s statement:
“BNT wishes to state very clearly, that notwithstanding the results of the EIA, even if there are local project impacts that The Bahamas Environment Science and Technology Commission and the government might deem acceptable if mitigated, we cannot envisage any scenario where BNT could support this project.
“Whatever the specific location, this mammoth oil refinery and industrial project will be located somewhere between three ecologically important national parks.”
The BNT happens to be authorized by the Government of The Bahamas to monitor and manage the country’s national parks.We hold the view that the BNT speaks from a foundation of full environmental understanding of the health hazards and other ecology damages related to oil contamination.
The Free National Movement Government, under Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis should pay attention.