Bomba, in the province of Chieti Abruzzo, is still threatened by the ticking time-bomb of oil exploration by Forest Oil Corporation, its ever-present threat wielded by the silent and still undecided Italian National and Abruzzo Regional governments; if the go-ahead is given to create refinery and oil wells as proposed in the seismically challenged lake that sits just a 2-minute drive from people’s homes the affect could be devastating.
This summer Bomba has seen its most successful season yet with large numbers of tourists visiting and staying at the town to enjoy its varied water-sports, mountain-biking, hiking and famous Abruzzesi food & hospitality, rewarding the monies and hard work which had been invested in growing a sustainable economy developed by local residents over the last 25 years.
The propitiatory offer of a €380,000 cheque to be presented to the local commune each year for the next 14 years was made by the Colorado-based Forest Oil Corporation, but local businesses and families rejected this offer. They understood all too well that the exchange of such “dirty money” for the use of their land and a contribution towards the reduction in their income from the fall in tourism from placement of oil wells, drilling and a refinery on Bomba’s doorstep was not an acceptable compromise or compensation.
They are hoping that the Regional Abruzzo and National Italian governments follow their wishes with a statement rejecting Forest Oil’s plans and these ‘available funds’ rather than perceive them as an easy autumn harvest bonanza which admittedly both mishandled economies sorely need.
There is a palpable sense of trepidation and dread in the town following the 3-month silence by politicians which has followed their stiff resistance to Forest Oil’s plan at a fierce meeting that was held in the town on June 5th 2011, as the result of a 2 year advocacy campaign by Bomba’s full-time 930 residents to stop Forest Oil’s plans in Abruzzo Italy.
The local community gathered together to express their anger directly to key Forest Oil management. That this US Oil Company has a history of drilling in the middle of a desert far away from residential properties and no previous experience or proposed emergency plans for drilling in a highly seismically challenged freshwater dam situated next to residential homes should even contemplate their proposed plans for Bomba is additional fuel to the fire.
The Italian Energy giant ENI had proposed a similar project in Bomba but declared such a project ‘unsafe’ due to the high level of seismic activity in the area which in 2009 saw a 6.3 Magnitude earthquake destroy the nearby capital city of the region, L’Aquila, along with its nearby villages with the result of 308 deaths. An indication how volatile the land is locally can be seen in the construction of the earthern dam with no cement/mortar used.
Already Forest Oil has admitted that setting up a refinery alone will exceed legal limits in pollutants but they believe that their proposed payment system would help sustain the health of future generations that are affected by such fall out, something that no local resident of Bomba believes can be verified or is worth the risk.
Bomba’s 930 residents now wait to hear if the attraction of a 14-year payment plan together with just a 10% drill tax revenue is a simple enough calculation for the Abruzzo and Italian government to undertake in rejecting short-term riches, respecting its peoples wishes and put an end to yet another US Oil Giant attempting to drill in Italy.
View the video below to hear the Forest Oil Corporation meeting with the town of Bomba & listen to Head of the NoOilAbruzzo Campaign Maria-Rita D’Orsogna explain in English why Italy is so attractive to international oil companies.
This article was written by LifeinAbruzzo.com on behalf of the NoOilAbruzzo campaign as a press release & appears on the English language Save the Montepulciano website where you can keep up to date with people of Abruzzo’s battles to counter oil companies attempts to drill Abruzzo .