Beginning Sunday, a civic group will be maintaining a continuous presence at geothermal drilling sites in the Roseau Valley as a form of protest action.
The Geothermal Awareness Group (GAG) is calling for a halt to drilling and wants a complete reassessment of the entire project.
The group held a press conference on Friday to outline their renewed concerns about the safety of the project.
“ It could be one person, there must be a continuous presence,” said Environmentalist Atherton Martin, speaking on behalf of the group.
The GAG is also calling for a complete reassessment of the entire project.
“You are actually playing with a huge source of energy that is ongoing…its constantly generating power. So you have to be exact, you have to be precise,” Martin pointed out. ” One of the things that is absolutely critical and crucial to the development of geothermal, probably much more so than the development of the other renewable (forms of energy) is that at every step of the way, before you take an action, you have to do some serious scientific investigation that will tell you, what are the likely effects/ impacts of any action that you take,” he added.
According to the GAG, of particular concern are the required protocols on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies that should have been done prior to any activity in the exploration stage, which includes drilling wells.
Martin said it took going public for them to get the EIA document, “When in fact, we have a planning law in the country that requires that any developer make available to the public their EIA. So we began to feel that something is not right, and we started asking questions of the people in the public sector and publicly. When we did finally get a chance to read the EIA’s we found them very poor documents,” he said.
He said he found the documents to be “weak in critical areas; they were weak in the areas of geology, particularly underground geology of Dominica and of the area.”
The EIA documents, he stated, were also lacking in the area of hydrology and on the social and economic impact of the project, and felt that they were not sufficient basis for moving forward. He maintains that they should have been presented to the public for discussion, review and comment, before they were used to trigger the commencement of exploration.
Martin insisted that the project as being done largely in violation of the established protocols for geothermal development, “including and particularly the environmental, economic and social impacts.”
The group also said it has written to UNESCO, informing the organization that there has been an ‘incursion’ on the Morne Trois Pitons National Park by the project.
The park was designated by the UN as a World Heritage Site.
Martin said UNESCO has responded, asking for images and sketches of the drilling holes.
According to him, UNESCO could delist the park as a World Heritage Site.
He also said the group has spoken to a team of lawyers about getting an injunction to stop the project all together.
Martin first spoke publicly about his renewed concerns regarding the safety of the project earlier this week. He argued that at least 30 percent of the island’s population and the whole of Roseau could be in danger if the alleged Boiling Lake and Valley of Desolation drilling continues.