DIANE PHILLIPS: Will these 36,000 voices be heard in the argument about oil?

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Diane Phillips

WE are so busy glaring at COVID-19 we are about to be blindsided by something that could take a greater toll on The Bahamas for decades to come a seemingly imminent plan to drill for oil.

For years, any talk of drilling for oil felt eons away, like a visit from dreaded in-laws that still had a chance of being cancelled.

Now, Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) has said it plans to start exploratory drilling as soon as December. There are those who are not convinced it will be that soon. Drilling for oil is not like drilling a hole in drywall to hang a picture (though you could probably punch the drywall with a #2 pencil). The point is, its expensive. Whether BPC has the ability to drill this year or next is not the important question.

The important question is whether oil drilling should be permitted at all.

Those who think not point to the risk factors of an oil spill and what one spill could do to The Bahamas. They point to the fact that after the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound off the coast of Alaska, Exxon sent in a team of 10,000 people over three years to clean up. Yet 20 years later, the fishing industry in Alaska was still suffering. They point to the fact that they do not know what, if anything, is in it for Bahamians and yet the country is on the brink of taking one of the greatest risks it has ever considered.

They point to the fact that when the Deepwater Horizon gushed 134 million gallons of oil covering the Gulf Coast in April 2010 and impactin....

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