Tag Archive: Gibran Bassil


Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Do you remember when Gibran Bassil promised us 24 hour electricity? When he said that we wouldn’t need to rely on generators anymore? When he said we wouldn’t have to pay two receipts for power? Well, guess what.  We’re still paying two receipts, and the amount is about to go up. Those who run generator companies plan on raising their prices; mind you, we already pay $100 per five amperes.  So, my fellow Lebanese, how do you feel about that ?

I sincerely doubt that any politician will successfully deliver 24 hour a day electricity to us. Sadly, given our endemic corruption, that seems like too much hope for. Instead, for our own sakes, I propose using solar energy instead. The price of generators is going up, and it is not cost efficient or environmentally friendly to continue to use them. We might as well switch to clean solar energy which pays for itself in five years, saves us money after that, and doesn’t pollute the environment. Can we trust them to provide for us, anyway?

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. As you already know, under the threat of cabinet dissolution, the government has passed the bill that will allow Minister of Energy & Water Gibran Bassil to start drilling for oil in order to produce fuel which in turn, will create electricity. There are many controversies about this. The most talked about are that Bassil will have access $1.2 billion with no oversight as to how the funds are used, and that there is no set, concrete, detailed plan as to how these resources will be allocated, or even how to go about oil drilling. However, regardless of one’s political affiliation, one concern remains completely objective; the amount of environmental damage that drilling for oil will do, and the health risks it will pose for us.

When discussing oil drilling, many are unaware as to the extent of the damage that is has on our environment. Crude oil contains benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are highly toxic.  They cause high levels of air and water pollution. The damage includes irreversable destruction of  our wildlife and biodiversity, loss of fertile soil and farmland, pollution of air, poisoning of our drinking water, and serious health problems for us.  Let us examine the facts.

The pollution caused by oil-drilling comes from four different common occurences: gas flaring, above ground pipeline leakage, oil waste dumping, and oil spills. These are scarily common.  Indeed, out of all gas that is drilled for,  75% of it is flared. The result of this is that soot (grimy dirt deriving from burned resources), lands on roofs, windows, and buildings. Whenever it rains, the soot is washed off the buildings and creates toxic black water. This liquid will run into our soil, causing it  to become infertile and thus, harming our vegetation and ability to farm. In addition, this soot-water will run into our groundwater system and rivers. These toxic chemicals can instigate all sorts of diseases, including cancer, liver malfunction, circulatory problems, and irreversable respiratory problems. 

In addition, oil spills, oil leakage, and dumping oil are far more common than indicated on the news, for this is an easy and inexpensive way for companies to deal with the by-products of their drilling. They simply dump it into the sea, which pollutes the sea with toxins.  When it comes to us, this “dumped oil” will poison our drinking water, kill our marine life, and destroy our vegetation. Remember the fish that you enjoy eating? It will be pumped full of oil-derived toxins. The sea-water you like to swim in? You will be swimming in a pool of chemicals that will give you all sorts of diseases, some of which are irreversable. 

Nor will the health risks of oil drilling reach us through the water exclusively. The aforementioned toxic chemicals, permeate the air and can do so for kilometers, reaching people not only close to the drilling sites but further out, too. As such, we will inhale the by-products that the drilling will create. Inhaling these toxins causes difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and cognitive  difficulties. It also causes skin, liver, kidney, respiratory, reproductive, blood, immune system and nervous system damage, cancer and birth defects. The air pollution caused by oil drilling also causes severe environmental problems, as the airborne toxins clog up the pores trees use to release oxygen into the air. We will end up with poorer air quality and a more polluted environment.

Our land and water are already polluted enough, but they could end up looking like this:

My fellow Lebanese, I really don’t  know what else to say. This is what awaits us if this plan is put into action. What do we do?

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. If you’ve been following the news, then you probably already know that on Monday, our ministry did not reach an agreement regarding the allocation of $1.2 billion to the Ministry of Energy in order to invest in the new oil-drilling project. Those who opposed giving the money to the ministry did so on the basis that doing so would give Gibran Bassil access to it without any committee or oversight ensuring his accountability. In response,  Michel Aoun threatened that his ministers would quit from Cabinet if an agreement did not come to pass. Given that Michel Aoun has the largest care of cabinet seats, Prime Minister Najib Mikati is expected to back down on this issue if only for the sake of maintaining our already-fragile government. 

Lebanon, the state of our government is such that it is willing to risk closure over financial allocations over this project. Nor is this the only political problem that the future oil-drilling project presents. The area that is rich in oil and gas resources is 850 square kilometers off the coast between Israel and Lebanon. This adds yet another point of contention betwee the two countries, as both lay claim to it. While the U.N. is in the process of demaricating the borders (as they should; each country should know its land and maritime borders) the political scenario surrounding this project does not bode well.

To break it down politically, we plan on drilling oil in a disputed area in order to use non-renewable sources of energy that will cause our environment harm. This is in spite of the fact that this issue has brought such fracture to our government that it risks dissolution. We will also be using an Iranian company to drill the oil and will be receiving natural gas from Iran, which increases our dependence on a foreign nation for our basic needs. Does anyone else see a problem here?

On an environmental level, drilling for oil and using fossil fuels for energy creates air  and water pollution, hurts plants and animal life, creates toxic waste, and causes global warming. By virtue of polluting our land, air, and sea, such methods also poses severe health risks for humans. Fossil fuels are also a non-renewable source of energy, and before long we will need another source to generate electricity from; in sum, the $1.2 billion will not be a permanent investment. Regardless of your political affiliation, these are factors to consider when discussing the oil-drilling project.

Fortunately, there are alternative solutions that are more eco-friendly, cheaper, and far less politicized. If we invest in solar technology, we have much to gain. After all, the sun is for free, and using it at a source of energy means we will never be subject to the ups and downs of energy markets. We will also never have to rely on foreign powers for our energy needs. Moreover, it is a clean alternative to the fossil fuels that will pollute our air and water even further. Using solar energy will also prevent the health risks that oil drilling and the use of oil for energy purposes will have on us. As a country that has 300 sunny days out of 365, it is a worthwhile investment! Regardless of your political affiliation, we can all agree that we need a clean country and want to protect and improve our health and political independence.  This is the way to an energy-independent and clean future:

 My fellow Lebanese, we can do it if we want to!!

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Did anyone see the news tonight? If so, you heard exactly what I heard; politicized comments starting to emerge regarding our electricity.
 
 As many of us know, our parliament passed a bill in August of 2010 which calls for the creation of a treasury and a committee to oversee the exploration and oil drilling in Lebanese waters. Currently, the maritime borders of Lebanon, Israel, and Cyprus are being studied by the U.N. for this purpose; to decide to the water and economic rights of each country. It is essential that each country know its rights and borders.  That said, this process is getting hairy. Minister of Energy Gibran Bassil went to Damascus, Syria on Tuesday. Yesterday he was asked as to whether or not President Bashar al-Assad requested that Lebanon “grant the priority” to a Russian company interested in Lebanon’s oil resources. He replied that President Assad did not ask him about this at all. 
 
Where the truth of the matter is we do not know. What we do know, however, is that oil drilling can have devasting effects on the sea, on marine life, and is a not a renewable source of energy. We also know that our energy problem is becoming politicized, and that foreign intervention in this matter, be it by Syria, Russia, the U.S., or anywhere else,  will not improve our situation. What we need are clean, renewable sources of energy that come from our own nation. Do we need more political bickering? Do we need more foreign intervention? Do we need more environmental pollution when we have a source of renewable energy right under our noses? 

 
Lebanon, WE HAVE WHAT WE NEED. We have the potential to use solar energy! If an individual installs solar energy panels, the device pays for itself in five years, and then you start to save money. You no longer need a generator, or pay as much for electricity. In addition, if this is widespread and publicly implemented, we spare ourselves the politicized problems we are facing regarding energy. More and more people are installing solar panels, and are better off for it. It is time for us to invest in our own clean resources. We can do it, Lebanon!!