On October 27, 2020, the Last Chance for Lighthouse Point Campaign released a letter to the Bahamian Minister of the Environment and Housing and Dr. Penning, Vice President of Animals Science and Environment for the Walt Disney Company. The letter sought clarity on the status of Disney Cruise Line’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for its proposed massive private cruise ship port at Lighthouse Point on Eleuthera. It also outlined a proposed timeline for a meaningful EIA process, which would include virtual meetings with technical experts and the public.
In July, the Last Chance campaign partners wrote to Disney urging the company to supplement their EIA with studies to examine the impacts associated with climate change, COVID-19, and systemic injustice. In their most recent letter, the partners also urged Disney to resubmit the EIA under the new 2020 draft EIA regulations. They also urged Disney to consider in its EIA the Principles of Responsible Tourism, which were put forward in September by the new Global Cruise Activist Network.
The letter further emphasized that the campaign has been cooperating with leading independent scientists and experts in The Bahamas, the U.S., and other countries. They are standing by to undertake a thorough review of Disney’s EIA upon its release as part of the consultation process.
Sam Duncombe, Executive Director, reEarth, added: “Last week, the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) stated that the EIA process “can be very onerous and prolonged, which delays development and its economic growth prospects.” They suggest streamlining and fast-tracking developments so they require less oversight. Instead of recognizing that the inherent value of our ecosystems are inextricably connected to our economic survival, the ERC has entirely missed the mark. This is not the moment to rush blindly ahead to approve cruise ship infrastructure project when the future of Disney and the larger industry are in question. This is the time to Rethink before we Restart.”
Casuarina Mckinney-Lambert, Executive Director, BREEF, added: “As an Eleutheran, I am particularly eager to see an updated economic analysis so the public—and the nearby communities of South Eleuthera—have a chance to see the projected benefits and costs associated with this proposed project, especially given the new pandemic-related realities of rebuilding our economy in a sustainable and safe way.”
Joseph Darville, Save the Bays: “Disney has said that it is committed to public consultations. We are writing to offer to cooperate with the company and the Government to organize a public review which will provide our society the information we need to make a reasoned decision about the future of Lighthouse Point. Disney told us that this will be the best EIA ever done for a project in The Bahamas. We are eager to work with Disney and the Government to make this the best ever public review and consultation ever undertaken here.”
Marc Yaggi, Executive Director, Waterkeeper Alliance: “Disney needs to prove it is truly committed to helping The Bahamas ‘build back better.’ Climate change, COVID-19, and systemic injustice all need to be considered in the environmental review of the proposed cruise port at Lighthouse Point—and the more than 320,000 supporters of our campaign agree.”
*Photo By Shane Gross