Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Hon. Vaughn Miller says he’s satisfied with the clean-up of the oil spill at Equinor South Riding Point and in the surrounding communities in East Grand Bahama, but added that the clean-up efforts continues.
“As far as I’m concerned and the conversations that I’ve had with them, the cleanup efforts is on-going, particularly the reforestation aspect of it,” said Minister Miller, adding that out of concern for Grand Bahama, he visited “to have some honest and frank conversations.”
Minister Miller’s comments came following a courtesy call with the executives of Equinor on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 in East Grand Bahama. The Minister, along with members of his ministry, were in Grand Bahama for a series of meetings with companies and businesses that deal in natural resources.
“As Minister for the environment and natural resources, with regards to our limestone and other aggregates that are mined here in Grand Bahama, we’ve come to sit with the businesses and companies involved in these areas, to pay them a courtesy call, to begin some meaningful conversations and dialogue with them,” said Minister Miller.
“We happened to come to Equinor first. The company is in ownership transition, so we’re basically waiting so that we can sit and have an official conversation with the new owners. We’ve had an initial meeting… but we would like to sit for a longer period to really make certain that we’re all on the same page: that they understand us and our policies. We want to make sure that we get off to a great start because we would like to have a great working relationship with the new owners.”
Asked if he was satisfied with the cleanup by Equinor following the major oil spill that took place on the property and into the surrounding communities following Hurricane Dorian, Minister Miller said that he’s satisfied with the results that have come in.
Ultimately, Minister Miller said that the government’s concern is for the people of Grand Bahama and as such, as Minister for the Environment, he wanted to sit with Equnior to clarify even some questions he’s had.
“We’re about protecting the interest of Bahamians,” said Minister Miller. Minister Miller admitted that following the oil spill in 2019, he was extremely concerned about the health and welfare of the people in East Grand Bahama, based on his knowledge of the high cancer risk when it came to oil spills. From a commercial perspective, he said that he was very concerned. But based on the results he has been privy to, he’s satisfied that the company is in compliance.
Minister Miller noted that since taking over the ministry as its Minister he was able to sit with Equinor and was informed of where the company was in terms of the clean-up process, and in what direction they were headed. He noted that for him, that was important.
During his three-day visit, Minister Miller called on Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey at the Ministry for Grand Bahama; held meetings with executives at the Grand Bahama Port Authority; executives at Buckeye Bahamas Hub; and executives at Bahama Rock.
By ANDREW COAKLEY/Bahamas Information Services