FISHERMEN and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is shocked that the source of the ongoing oil spill has not yet been discovered several days after the disaster began.
It means that as we write our members’ hardship and the degradation to our once sacred environment is increasing.
The impact of an oil spill is deadly to all life in the environment and to human health. We are left in a quandary regarding several unanswered questions which we now pose in the public domain.
Can the chairman of Petrotrin please advise our beleaguered nation:
1. What has Petrotrin done in the past ten years to address the 20,000-plus slow leaks from improperly laid or partially decomposed oil pipelines which were publicised ten years ago by the past chairman of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), Prof Agard?
2. Can the chairman of Petrotrin say with certainty whether the present oil spill emanates from one of these 20,000-plus eroded pipelines? Can Petrotrin shut down these lines immediately until the spill is contained?
3. Bearing in mind the compensation paid by BP to stakeholders, including fisherfolk after its catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico three years ago, can the chairman now advise the nation what compensation it will pay to our affected stakeholders?
4. Can Petrotrin share with the concerned public, what are its emergency response protocols?
5. Can Petrotrin explain why its clean-up operations are focussed on only one beach, Queens Beach, whereas more than ten beaches are affected to date?
6. Can Petrotrin say what is the chemical dispersant it is using and what is the environmental impact of this chemical on the fishery?
7. Based on the fact that pipelines have been leaking for at least a decade, will the EMA now investigate, and indict the Minister of Energy, chairman and the CEO of Petrotrin?
8. Residents who live on the shoreline have not been relocated because Petrotrin is not providing security to protect the evacuated homes. Can the chairman please advise the public what are the relocation guidelines for affected residents in the event of an oil or gas disaster such as this?
FFOS supports responsible monetisation of our oil and gas, but wonders why so many have been forced to suffer for so long with the apparent silence of the EMA.
Alvin La Borde
President, La Brea Fishing Association