Bahamian environmental groups question whether a cruise port at Lighthouse Point is a good deal for Eleuthera and The Bahamas
The Bahamian environmental groups of the Stop Disney – Last Chance for Lighthouse Point campaign announced that they are starting a thorough technical review of the just-released 550-page Environmental Impact Assessment for Disney’s proposed cruise ship port at Lighthouse Point on Eleuthera.
In October, the groups wrote to Disney and the Minister of the Environment calling for a commitment to a 90-day public consultation period to ensure an informed decision on the project.
Joseph Darville, Chairman, Save the Bays, added: “It is our goal to ensure that Disney has fully considered all of the environmental, economic, and social implications of their proposed port, keeping in mind and implementing the same high standards as it proposes to do to meet its 2030 environmental goals. We are already a climate changed threatened country.”
Sam Duncombe, Executive Director, reEarth, stated: “At first glance, it appears that Disney has prepared an EIA for a world that no longer exists and has not adequately addressed the new realities of COVID, climate change and sea-level rise, and environmental injustice.”
“It is not surprising that Disney’s EIA claims that the project is economically beneficial and environmentally benign,” said Casuarina Mckinney-Lambert, Executive Director, BREEF, “Many critical voices have been almost completely shut out of the process so far, and we have just begun to read the EIA. We have serious concerns.”
The Last Chance campaign, which includes the international Waterkeeper Alliance, has recruited a panel of more than thirty local and international scientists and experts to analyze Disney’s EIA. The experts will be taking a hard look at the economics of the deal, the climate change and sea-level rise implications, and the environmental impacts of as many as 20,000 visitors a week on Lighthouse Point and its surrounding waters. The Last Chance campaign has gathered more than 440,000 supporters on a change.org petition calling on Disney to work with local groups on a sustainable tourism alternative that would provide more economic benefit for local communities and would be more resilient to climate change.
Rashema Ingraham, Executive Director, Waterkeepers Bahamas, added: “This is not a done deal. Disney has only just released its EIA. We hope that Disney and the Government will not attempt to push this project through without providing a meaningful opportunity for a public review of the project.”