Prime Minister Perry Christie Must Not Declare War On Bahamian Environment
Mother Earth is angry! We witness in our everyday life the art of betrayal and deceit. We also witness the irreparable damage man has caused to Mother Earth. Eighty-five percent of the world’s forest does not exist anymore. Seventy percent of the world’s animals are extinct. Our entire ocean is constantly being polluted by man. The Artic that we love and marvel in our minds is now in danger because of global warming and this phenomenon could have adverse affect on our Bahamaland.
Man is destructive in all his nature and motion because of greed. He puts nothing back that he destroys. The tendency of man and society to destroy nature is becoming a reality in The Bahamas as we watch the government and its agents debating the establishment of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in The Bahamas. As usual, they hope that the LNG project will bring a brighter and better future for The Bahamas. This is a lie in its ugly and horrible shape. This is man’s final quest to conquer and destroy one of God’s favorite spots on earth, our Bahamaland. It is as if we are players in The Merchant of Venice. The Bahamas is caught up in this allegory, this early festive comedy effectuated by the US Ambassador, John D. Rood. Our national security and entire sovereignty and civil liberty will be at risk. If the LNG project is established the US would want a base in The Bahamas to police it. Does the government realize that our entire civil liberty would be in jeopardy? The Bush administration cannot guarantee the safety of the entire Bahamian eco-system if the LNG project is approved considering the potential health and environmental hazards it poses.
"When LNG is exposed to the air in the event of an accident, it will turn into gas and expand rapidly. This expansion, if it takes place in a confined area, could cause an explosion", according to the ABS Report. Once it turns into a gas it can be ignited. Professor James Fay of MIT describes the severity of an LNG fire that: "there is no possibility of ameliorating the fire’s effects, much less extinguishing it, during the short time (several minutes) of burnout." "Only months ago, on January 19, 2004, the Skikda LNG plant on the Algerian coast blew up due to a leaking LNG pipe, killing 30 and severely injuring over 100 persons. The remote location of the facility prevented higher casualties from the huge explosion. Windows were broken in buildings six miles away. Between the Cleveland, Ohio, LNG catastrophe that killed 128 and injured 225 people and the Skikda incident there have been 19 recorded LNG accidents resulting from human error and/or equipment failure." (Coalition for Responsible sitting of LNG Facilities, 2004-2005)
In the past few years, the level of hurricane formation and intensity has continued to increase, raising the potential of devastating hurricanes that would destroy any oil and gas installation in the ocean. Let us not forget the underwater earthquake in the late 1980’s that affected Andros, and all of the US east coast, north to Maine. The tsunami disaster in Indonesia is another potential disaster that may happen in the Bahamas. Consider the impact if the LNG project is installed and operation when any of these disasters occurs.
There was an underwater earthquake that boulders came up on Bay Street causing irremediable damage to the entire east coast of the US. Even former president Bush’s house was damaged. Underwater earthquakes could damage LNG tanks and piping. "Therefore, LNG terminal infrastructure should be designed and subject to independent review to ensure that the design is appropriate for the earthquake potential at the site. This should include both the magnitude and the type of earthquakes associated with the proposed location and secondary conditions associated with such events such as soil liquefaction or tsunami." (Public Safety and FERC LNG’s Spin, Pipeline Safety Trust) Could you imagine what would happen if there is a shiver under the earth? This shows how volatile we are in The Bahamas if this facility were to be built!
We don’t even have the technology to evacuate residents in case of a hurricane and to rebuild simply because of our fragile eco system and culture. Literally, Bimini and parts of Grand Bahama and New Providence will be under fire. Man can never guarantee certainty. Should we place our entire ecological system and entire environmental harmony in danger for the sake of the almighty dollar? Why chance something that leaves probability that puts us in the realm of probability? We do not have enough police to patrol Nassau and the incendiary crime. How can we police and protect the Bahamian public?
The Americans are concerned but the US ambassador has the audacity to attempt to sell the Bahamian public in this horse crap LNG project. "Weaver’s Cove Energy/Amerada Hess has targeted all communities along Narragansett and Mount Hope Bays. Fall River has been chosen as the site for their ill-conceived LNG project. The LNG storage tank will be located 1,200 feet away from residential homes. 9,000 residents reside within a 1-mile radius of the site. LNG super tanker transit will impact and endanger every community from Newport, north to Fall River. Nevertheless, a vapor cloud from an LNG spill could extend to 2,500 meters (almost 8,000 feet!)".
In my previous article, I told The Bahamas that our greatest friend would become our greatest nightmare. When you romance with the devil, do the waltz with count Dracula, and you dine with Jason on Friday the 13th, you're bound to end up in a situation of perpetual chaos. The Americans don’t give a crap about black Bahamians, we are just a pawn in their political game; we are just the banana republic in their eyesight and as a nation we are dispensable. They are messing with our civil liberty and now they want to screw with the environment. "Over the last two years, and facing a deluge of applications for new and expanded terminals, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has failed to advise any proponent that their proposed location puts too many people at risk. Even though the FERC has already approved more LNG import terminals than are needed to meet demand, the FERC continues to review 16 additional terminal applications and does nothing to discourage the 20 or so more projects that are careening along in the LNG gold rush. In spite of numerous scientific studies and real-world disasters, the FERC maintains that LNG terminals belong anywhere project proponents want them."(Public Safety and FERC LNG’s Spin, Pipeline Safety Trust)
In 2003, Democratic Senate Representative, Edward Markey, Mass. stated, that he had sent letters to the Bush administration questioning the use of "a faulty study" to assess the dangers that liquefied natural gas tankers pose to populated areas. Markey suggested that, "selected study findings were being wielded to ‘minimize,’ in the public's mind, the scope of the hazards." Markey's letters expressed concern that numerous federal agencies, including FERC, may be using misleading data to perform the safety analysis.
Why doesn’t America go to the FERC and get a license to put it in Florida? They have the technology to do it, to dredge their coastal line and put the gas lines near Florida. But they know that if they do it there, they will have to answer to these same questions. They will have to test and go through committees and regulations and this line does not meet their codes. Do they think we’re stupid? They may think that the prime minister is stupid but the Bahamian public is not stupid. We do not need this damn LNG project.
No more conch and grouper, game fishing, and eco-tourism for a dollar! Are we that desperate for money that we would ruin our entire eco system? "The danger to those caught within the potential impact zones of an LNG spill include: asphyxiation due to lack of oxygen, exposure to severe cryogenic temperatures, burn from severe heat/thermal radiation, and damage associated with high pressure blast waves and associated flying debris."(Public Safety and FERC LNG’s Spin, Pipeline Safety Trust)
Is this the death warrant that you want to sign for just a few dollars? Is this, Mr. Prime Minster, the payback that you want for your country?
We are just a convenient tool for an LNG project that will profit their pockets and jeopardize our entire environment and national sovereignty, as indicated. Look what happened to Nigeria! "The Ogoni are a people of approximately 500,000, who live in Ogoni, a region in Rivers State, Nigeria. The region of Ogoni only has an area of 650 square kilometers, resulting in a very high population density. Despite this high population density, the extraordinary fertility of the Niger delta has historically allowed the Ogoni to make a good living as subsistence farmers and fishing people.
Currently, this lifestyle has changed. A MOSOP statement reads: "The once-beautiful Ogoni countryside is no more a source of fresh air and green vegetation. All one sees and feels around is death." A sampling of Shell’s activity in Nigeria over the last four years shows that more than 700 people have been killed by pipeline explosions. Five thousand barrels of oil were spilled in March 1999 from Shell Petroleum Development (SPDC) Western Division affecting 29 Ijaw fishing communities. Twenty-four oil flow stations operated by Shell were closed in October due to a major oil spill on the Asaramatoru River, affecting nearly 10,000 people." (Vital Statistics by Drillbits and Tailings, Vol. 4, 1999)
The Bahamas is the second largest micro ecological feeding ground of the world that feeds the world's fish because of the mangrove swamps in Andros. We have a responsibility to the world and yet we are trying to abdicate this responsibility. Was the prime minister born to commit the greatest crime against The Bahamas? Has he been born to create this disaster; to romance the American government, sell out what makes us a paradise: our waters? There is 400 billion dollars of untapped resources in our waters and the Americas want to destroy it before we figure out how to tap into it. How could we be so stupid? We have not begun nationhood and we are entering this crap. Let us not forget what happened to Nigeria in the Delta region! Does The Bahamas want to live like they do? "A stolen and deprived beginning", I will call it.
"This is considering that the Ogoni child would have been born blessed by nature, born to an environment which would not lack anything in natural resources but for the exploitation of crude oil by the Nigerian Government and its cohort Shell: an environment which has provided them more than $30 billion revenue. This is an area that now introduces her children to no beginning. No future for the supposed leaders of tomorrow." (The Ogoni Child: Cry, Beloved Children by Gbenewa Phido). It is certain, Mr. Prime minister, that our environment will be devastated.
Remember, Mr. Prime Minister, we do not have more beach front property today compared to two decades ago, yet, the government is favorably considering to sell out our ocean too? We should abandon the pre-clearance process, which is being used as leverage over us. We need to diversify our tourist market and bring in tourists from Latin America and other parts of the world. Look at what the corporate world did to Nigeria. "We care for the unknown grandmother and the unborn baby in the Niger Delta; and we care for the Earth. If we did not care for these things we would not be DELTA. But let us care for some more, as I am sure Ken would have cared. Let us care for the staff and shareholders of Shell because it is they who are losing their humanity by not caring: they are consigning themselves to Hell. I am not talking about the ordinary Nigerian staffs that need to work for Shell because Shell has impoverished their country. I mean the fat cats to whom a flashy suit and a house in Surrey or France are more important than the lives of ordinary Nigerians. These are the people who in their ignorance, arrogance and poverty of spirit make Shell careless and inhumane." (Delta Newspaper by Nick Ashton-Jones)
The Bahamas must learn from this experience and the uncertainty in the occurrence of natural disaster and man-made disaster that will inflict untold harm to the environment and the society. We must not place future potential economic gain as first priority in this instance. The future of the country’s natural environment and the lives and property of the citizen should be our paramount consideration.