73.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, February 27, 2024


The Association of Reef Keepers, or ARK, in the British Virgin Islands wishes to state its concern over the potentially devastating environmental impact the proposed rocket-launch facilities at Sombrero Island will have on the environment of both Sombrero and the downstream communitites of the B.V.I., U.S.V.I. and Puerto Rico.
The project initiators, BEAL Aerospace, have, in our opinion, failed to provide adequate guarantees in their Environmental Assessment to satisfy concerns over the safety and viability of the operation and to give sufficient recognition of the potentially negative effects on the environment.
Sombrero is unique for its isolation, lack of human impact and the bird and marine life it sustains. It is a special nesting and breeding site for migratory sea birds whose other nesting habitats have been severely
depleted throughout the Caribbean due to insensitive development.
Horseshoe Reef on Anegada is the second largest barrier reef in the Caribbean and lies 45 miles directly downstream and downcurrent of Sombrero, yet receives no mention in the EA.
No attempt has been made to assess the extent of the effect on downstream islands of such impacts as acid rain, sonic booms, fuel spills and debris.
Bearing in mind that the B.V.I. is considered a prime unspoilt tourist destination and also has an important local fishing industry, the negative environmental effects of the rocket launching site could seriously affect the future of the B.V.I.'s tourist and fishing industries.
A document sent to government and non-government officials in the B.V.I. includes questions, comments and requests for additional information that have arisen from the EA.
As a B.V.I. environmental NGO, ARK requests that prior to further developments they seriously consider the questions raised whilst taking action to halt the project until concrete guarantees are made that environmental safety issues have been fully addressed, not only for Sombrero but for downstream and downcurrent islands.
ARK members include scientists who are Willing to assist the government and other involved parties should they require further information.
Trish Baily
President, ARK
British Virgin Islands

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.