Apr 26, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – A decision to erect a waste treatment facility to support the oil and gas sector is being challenged by some residents of Coverden, East Bank Demerara (EBD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has since responded and has agreed to host a ‘public hearing’ today, on the matter.
According to the agency, its Environmental Assessment Board (EAB) will be conducting the ‘Public Hearing’ at the Soesdyke/Huist, Coverden Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC). The EAB will be looking into the appeals submitted against Global Oil Environmental Service’s (GOES) construction and operation of a waste treatment facility.
That facility is intended for transfer, storage, treatment and disposal of exploration and production waste from the oil and gas storage.
The public hearing, according to the EPA, is being held in keeping with the Environmental Protection Act, which prescribes that the EAB shall conduct public hearings into all appeals submitted against the EPA’s decision, not to require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project.
As such, the hearing is envisioned to involve representation from the appellants, the developer and other key stakeholders, after which the EAB will deliberate on the findings and prepare a report with its decision confirming or setting aside the EPA’s decision.
A petition inked by Penelope Howell and accompanied by 155 names attached—said to be from the affected community—had called on the EPA to put the decision to permit the construction and operation of a waste treatment facility to GOES at Coverden on hold.
The petition on behalf of the property owners and residents in the affected area said, the project must be put on hold, “unless and until several Town Hall Meetings are held by the relevant authorities and/or agencies with the communities to be affected, whether directly and indirectly by this development.”
This, in order to “generally evaluate this new development on its future economic, cultural and social impacts upon these communities and until the following specific assessments are done and published by the relevant authorities and or agencies.”
The demand, according to Howell, is in keeping with the Environmental Protection Act, Cap. 20:05, the Laws of Guyana, and the Environmental Protection (Authorizations) Regulations, 2000, and as property owners in the affected area.
Among the concerns raised by the residents, is the environmental impact of the proposed operation on the flora, fauna and the water courses of the East Bank of Demerara and its surrounding environs.
Additionally, residents have expressed concerns over the likely adverse environmental effects that would result from the implementation of the construction and operation of a waste treatment facility project.
The residents would also like to see addressed by the relevant agencies, “alternatives to the proposed actions or projects of the construction and operation of a waste treatment facility.”
Howell, in the petition which was also copied to Head of State, President Irfaan Ali, is seeking the relevant agencies to address the matter of, “any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of resources, that would result from the implementation of the construction and operation of a Waste Treatment Facility project.”
These are in addition to identifying the probable beneficial impacts to the environment, probable construction period impacts, probable short-term impacts, probable long-term effects, irreversible or irretrievable damage or commitments, and a description of techniques intended to minimize adverse impacts.
The petitioners are also calling for social impact, cultural impact and economic impact assessments to residents, in addition to disaster impact assessment and demographic change impact assessment including epidemic impact assessment.
GOES, in a public missive recently had announced its decision to forge ahead with the project stating, that its focus will be the “responsible and safe recycling and reuse” of hydrocarbons in exploration and production waste streams.
It was noted by the company that, “with the addition of several drilling rigs in 2021 and 2022, Guyana will require most supporting businesses to manage the growth of the sector and reduce risk to population and environment moving forward.”
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