May 18, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – A decision by Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to amend the Liza 1 Permit issued to ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), is tantamount to Government being accommodating of ExxonMobil’s illegal actions or is complicit.
In fact, the amended permit goes further to legalise a 14 billion cubic feet flaring cap and to allow the company to not pay any fines retroactively.
Additionally, the 60-day grace period given to ExxonMobil to allow for permissible flaring under emergencies and such other circumstances, is also tantamount to giving the company permission to flare.
The damning revelations were made public over the weekend by former EPA Director, Dr. Vincent Adams, who in condemning the actions of the US oil major called it “eye pass.”
Speaking directly to the provisions of the modified permit, Dr. Adams noted that Government, through the EPA, is now going to allow ExxonMobil to increase its flaring to 60 days.
“They (ExxonMobil) were on record that flaring would be stopped from day one,” he recalled and observed, “they put in the equipment and it’s not working, and they have been flaring for two years now and we are accommodating them, bending over backwards and rewriting the permit now.”
He was adamant in his lamentations over the EPA’s decision to, “give them 60 days of flaring, when international standards such as in the US, only gives two days, 48 hours” but “we giving them 60 days.”
He expounded further, “Here is the con in all of this, or the shiny object to distract from what they are doing, from the violation of law, now we are going to charge them US$30 for every tonne of carbon equivalent over and above the 60 days, that 60 days.”
According to Dr. Adams, “if Exxon can’t stop flaring within 60 days something is wrong, [and] they probably don’t need to be operating, to be quite honest.”
He was adamant that ExxonMobil knows “fully well that 60 days is enough time after start up; we have accommodated that.”
Dr. Adams additionally bemoaned that the modified permit is actually disguised to allow for a 14 billion cubic feet-flaring cap that was imagined by the current administration.
He explained saying the government had unabashedly lied by saying “‘that there was a 14 billion cubic feet cap in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),’ which was nonsense.”
Dr. Adams reminded that there was a claim that the company was allowed to flare up to 14 billion cubic feet and “they couldn’t come up with nothing.”
He suggested that ExxonMobil then claimed they didn’t know where the 14 billion figures came from, “so Exxon threw them under the bus.”
As such, Dr. Adams said “I thought that this thing was over [but] they brought it up back into this announcement that they made.”
He drew reference to the EPA’s disclosure, that it had amended the permit which indicated again the 14 billion cap, and posited the only reason the administration resuscitated that lie, “is because they want to validate or to make that 14 cubic feet legal, so you don’t have to pay retroactively this US$30 fine, it would not be retroactive to that 14 billion cubic feet; it’s so transparent to me, why else would you want to bring back up a lie if it’s not to protect Exxon.”
According to Dr. Adams, “the law specifically states what they cannot do but Exxon is getting away with it, so other developers might be saying the same thing, here is Exxon they are getting away with it, the government is backing them, why can’t we?”
He used as example also, the ad hoc manner in which the law is enforced and pointed to the actions taken on the part of Government with regards to the illegal cement batching plant in Houston Estates where a Minister was disrespected and the principals ordered to leave the country.
According to Dr. Adams, government was absolutely right to kick out the people “but then, you got Exxon who can do whatever they want and get away with it, and the government backs them.”
According to Dr. Adams, “the most important thing here is what we got to stop as of right now or else if we go down this road, it’s going to be a very slippery slope. The country is going to be in a major dilemma if people are not following the rule of law, or if they are encouraged by the government; I am concerned that it doesn’t appear that way now.”
Speaking directly to ExxonMobil and their blatant infractions, Dr. Adams warned too, that smaller developers might be looking at their actions and are saying, “look what Exxon is doing, they have been flaring now for two years.”
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