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STB: LNG deal must include Clifton clean-up plan 

The final agreement with Shell North America for a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG facility at Clifton Pier must include thorough remediation of the extremely polluted area and plans for a pathway to fully renewable energy, according to Save The Bays.
Joseph Darville, chairman of the leading social and environmental advocacy group, said STB was alarmed to learn that the government had chosen to locate yet another power plant at Clifton, an area that has suffered serious and sustained environmental damage through decades of inaction by BEC/BPL, as well as several private industrial companies located in the area – Shell Bahamas among them.

“Clifton has become a toxic wasteland where hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and other pollutants are allowed to seep into the ground and water without any of the companies out there lifting a finger,” Darville said. “Now we learn that a sister company of one of these industrial giants has been given a contract to build yet another power plant in the area.”

The STB chairman said that while an LNG power generation facility would no doubt be a huge step up in environmental terms from the heavily polluting diesel and bunker-C fuel burning turbines operated by BPL, natural gas is nevertheless highly volatile and can be susceptible to explosions if not handled properly.

“LNG can be a very dangerous substance to work with and so any such facility must put in place the absolute top standard of safety protocols and operate according to the highest international standards,” he said. “And, though it may be much cleaner than burning oil, LNG is still a petroleum-based, nonrenewable fuel.

“Around the world, the progressive trend is to use LNG in combination with solar or some other form of renewable energy, and then to slowly decrease the use of natural gas and increase reliance on renewables. STB expects the final agreement with Shell to include a clear pathway and firm deadline to 100 percent reliance on renewable energy in the near future.

“In addition, we absolutely insist that the company commit to fully remediating the horrible pollution at Clifton, which is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings between STB and the government. Indeed, it is hard to see how the Minnis Administration could possibly have struck a deal in good faith without including such a provision; it would amount to adding insult to injury and a slap in the face of all the regular Bahamians who live in the area, swim in and fish the waters of Clifton, and whose lives have been negatively impacted by the toxic sludge emitted from the industrial area.”

Darville said the government should make the Shell LNG deal public immediately so Bahamians can see what has been agreed to in their name.
“Hopefully it is not another Oban-style deal, which is kept secret from the public only for it to be revealed, when it is already too late, that the government has agreed to provisions that are potentially disastrous for the environment,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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