Bahamas National Trust (BNT) Executive Chairman Eric Carey said Tuesday that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ address on the $5.5 billion Oban Energies project – earmarked for East Grand Bahama – did nothing to allay their mounting environmental concerns and the BNT remains opposed to the project.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Carey said, despite Dr. Minnis’ remarks, BNT is not satisfied.
Carey said the nation’s leader failed to disclose pertinent details about the project and its environmental impact.
“The burning question that we still don’t know the answer to is where is it going to be,” Carey said.
Dr. Minis released a video of the then Minister of Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville meeting with Oban Executives back in 2016 and suggested that the site was opposite the Statoil Storage facility.
Carey however said that that still does not give a clear indication of where the massive development will be located under this administration.
“I saw the video and that was the other government and a different minister. Is that still the site? We don’t know,” Carey reiterated.
“We want to know how close it is to the parks. How close it is to communities. Grand Bahama has lots of underground caverns where remains of Lucayans were found and what are fresh water reserves.
“Some may argue that Statoil is an already impacted site and that its less to mess up but we are talking about expansion and something that huge… we just need to know.”
Meanwhile Carey said Oban executives contacted BNT officials yesterday and they plan to travel to Grand Bahama sometime next week to meet with them.
“We recommended that they also meet with the other NGO’s who have also expressed their concerns. Hopefully they will reveal where it is and we will have an opportunity to ask them about their plans,” he said.
Carey added that he understands that Oban has hired environmental expert Keith Bishop as part of the process, which he said is promising.
“The BNT wants to be able to inform the process and help to inform as the environmental assessment takes place,” he said.
“We don’t want to wait until a determination is made without the expert input from the various organizations.
“We still have great difficulty in understanding how you could place an oil refinery anywhere in that area, is my concern… we not only have to look at the environmental impact but the people. Is it close to communities and how will they be impacted?”
Carey maintained that until the BNT has a clear indication of where the project will be located and its potential impact on the environment, its position will remain the same.