Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, the Hon. Vaughn Miller on Tuesday, May 16 said severe penalties will be issued if oil spill cleanup has not been done to the satisfaction of the Ministry.
Just before the Cabinet Meeting at the Ministry for Grand Bahama, Minister Miller met with members of the media and fielded questions. Several complaints have been received by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources about the lack of cleanup from the 2019 oil spill resulting from Hurricane Dorian.
According to the Minister, a team will be dispatched to inspect the area, and in particular, the land north of Equinor where reports indicate that oil is still visible on aggregate, greenery, and the soil.
Environmental groups have invited Minister Albury to tour the affected areas with them and he said he has committed to meet with them and will do so.
“We intend to meet with the environmental community and the community at large to give an update on it once they (the team to be dispatched) would have concluded with their findings.”
Regarding penalties if the required cleanup has not been carried out, the Minister said, “If they are not in compliance, I will personally advocate for the strictest and the most severe penalties. We take this very seriously; I have one Bahamas and I believe this land is my land, our land, this is our country.
“We are the stewards of the environment, and we want to leave this as good as we met it, if not better for those who would inherit it from us. If there are any violations, I will personally see to it that the most stringent, strictest, that the most severe would be levied.”
Minister Miller said he was also made aware of the company in question erecting a fence which is now reportedly preventing access by some boaters from East End. He said he visited the site on Monday and was “amazed” at how much land was included in the grid. “We will be getting to the bottom of this situation, and we will be happy to inform the residents of Grand Bahama.”