Help save The Bahamas from oil drilling
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We are at a pivotal point in Bahamian history. The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) has announced its intention to begin offshore oil drilling in our pristine waters in a matter of months. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has one last chance to protect our nation's economy and precious natural resources from the devastating ravages of oil pollution before it is too late.
We ask you to join us in this urgent petition asking the Prime Minister to cancel all existing oil exploration licenses, reject all proposed renewals and impose a permanent ban on fossil fuel exploration anywhere within our maritime borders.
The critical threat posed by oil drilling to our world-renowned oceans, reefs and beaches cannot be exaggerated. This year is the 10th Anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which dumped nearly 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, fouled 16,000 miles of coastline along five US states, utterly destroyed fisheries and caused an unprecedented and as yet untold level of damage to marine life.
The Deepwater Horizon rig was an exploratory well, just like the one BPC is intends to drill. Even a partial repeat of that disaster would devastate our tourism, commercial fishing, diving and marine recreation industries. Tourism alone generates 50% of our Gross Domestic Product, while these other industries are vital to the survival of many far-flung communities. Simply put, drilling threatens our very way of life.
The United States is watching. In an April 17, 2020 letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Charge d’Affaires in the Bahamas Stephanie Bowers, a group of Congressmen and Congresswomen representing communities up and down the East Coast voiced their strong opposition to the BPC project and oil exploration in the Bahamas generally.
“The United States cannot afford another Deepwater Horizon disaster,” the letter read. “This bipartisan group of members respects the sovereignty of the Bahamas, but a spill in Bahamian waters could bring ruin to both of our countries’ shorelines … Oil is toxic to marine life and a spill in Bahamian waters could quickly damage vibrant corals, kill off seagrass beds and coat important mangrove ecosystems, which are important carbon sinks.”
Any environmental damage to the US coast also exposes The Bahamas to the very real threat of massive liability actions in the US courts. Suits may be brought, for example, by the State of Florida, where there is already a moratorium on offshore drilling in place; any other affected state; any community in an affected state; any affected individual; American NGOs; or any combination of the above. Those affected could also bring The Bahamas before international courts where our reputation would be publicly tarnished for all to see. Considering the swiftness and massive reach of the Gulf Stream and its close proximity to BPC’s proposed drilling site, the possible range of environmental devastation along the US coastline – and therefore the potential liability – is beyond calculation.
It is clear that neither BPC or The Bahamas government could fund the level of emergency response and cleanup needed to mitigate a large-scale disaster. The Deepwater Horizon spill cost $65 billion – more than five times the GDP of the Bahamas. Were such a disaster to take place it would pose an existential threat to The Bahamas, directly threatening the livelihoods of the vast majority of Bahamians.
Sign the petition and support the growing grassroots coalition against offshore drilling in the Bahamas. We cannot afford to put our nation’s future at risk, nor risk its reputation being tied to a devastating accident. Help us urge Prime Minister Minnis to cancel existing licenses immediately, disregard any license renewal proposals and place an permanent ban on offshore oil drilling. Let us be known for pristine waterways and our commitment to a sustainable economy, not dirty fossil fuels or another uncontrolled and costly oil disaster. '
For more information visit: ourislandsourfuture.org
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