Jul 05, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – Oil major ExxonMobil has already conducted and submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for its aspect of the Gas to Energy project, that is, the onshore and offshore pipelines to transport the natural gas from the Liza Fields in the Stabroek Block to Wales on the West Bank of Demerara, where the Government of Guyana will be constructing a Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Plant as well as a Power Plant to generate electricity.
Upon the submission of that document, environmentalists and members of civil society objected to the EIA, arguing that the NGL and power plant were not included and must be considered as part of the US-billion dollar venture. However, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), the local subsidiary of Exxon, which will be pursuing the project, has said that the administration will be submitting a separate application to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their part of the project. The oil company said that the regulator would then determine whether an EIA would be required.
However, government has moved to invite consultants to supervise the construction of the facilities it plans to establish at Wales, even without completing an environmental impact study, which according to the former Executive Director of the EPA, Dr. Vincent Adams is another case of the government putting the cart before the horse.
Dr. Adams in an invited comment on Monday told Kaieteur News that an EIA is critical for the facilities, as this study would not only help to identify potential risks involved but would also highlight mitigated steps and response measures to be instituted in the event of an unfortunate event, such as an explosion at the site.
He said, “I would expect, especially for such a big operation, there will be some natural hazards. For example, you are going to have air emissions, you will have potential for explosions because you are going to be dealing with pressurized vessels. It’s going to be a chemical facility in a highly populated area so I would say it does demand an EIA…the capital city is right across and Region Three and Four is the highest populated. The EPA or the entire country, like the first responders such as the fire department, we have never had something like this in Guyana before in terms of the types of chemicals.”
The former EPA boss argued that first responders would need to know details of the operation to properly conduct their duties. In the EIA document submitted by Exxon, the oil company made it clear “The Government of Guyana is pursuing a separate project to construct a power plant (the Power Plant) that would use a portion of this associated natural gas as a fuel source…the Power Plant will not be owned and operated by EEPGL and is being proposed by a separate proponent under a separate Environmental Authorisation process. The Power Plant thus is not included in the Project within the EIA (with the exception that the Power Plant is considered as part of the cumulative impact assessment).”
To this end, Dr. Adams pointed out that such a project is new to the country and the EPA has no experience in handling anything of this nature. According to him, “I believe that the only reason why they are rushing these things in terms of not doing an EIA and going ahead with an EMP (Environmental Management Plan) is because of the pressure to get it done quickly.”
The former EPA boss told this publication that an EMP is not as robust as an EIA and does not outline technical information which would be included in an environmental impact study. As such he argued, “And that’s the danger. You never ever, and that’s one of the basic tenets or mantras of environmental management, you never compromise the health, safety and the environment for cost and schedule. It’s one of the biggest sins that you can commit in the environmental world.”
Dr. Adams said that the project would definitely demand an EIA. He was keen to note that this study would also enable the public to scrutinize the project as the EIA process would cater for a comments period in which citizens can ask questions and have them responded to during this timeline.
When he was asked whether the government should be inviting consultants to supervise the construction of the facilities without conducting an EIA, Dr. Adams said, “No they shouldn’t. What an EIA does, before you even start construction, it drives the design of the facility because the EIA has got to identify hazards for example so when it does that then the developer would design it to mitigate against these hazards. So what they are doing is putting the cart before the horse. You cannot design and construct a facility if you don’t know what the hazards are.”
On Saturday, the Government of Guyana invited proposals for consultancy services for the supervision of the facilities.
Aug 17, 2022Kaieteur News – Tickets for the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club’s (GMR&SC) International Drag Meet scheduled for Sunday, August 21, at the South Dakota 1320 strip are progressing at a...
Kaieteur News – I am fed up with Mr. Ramkarran writing to Kaieteur News and apologies printed for fear of libel over... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – So far in this attempt to answer the question, “Has CARICOM reached its limits... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]