The National Agricultural Management Authority-NEMA has snubbed a petition by civil societies under Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas-CSCO which requested the environment body not to approve the east African oil pipeline environment and social impact assessment report.
The National Agricultural Management Authority-NEMA has
snubbed a petition by civil societies under Civil Society Coalition on Oil and
Gas-CSCO which requested the environment body not to approve the east African
oil pipeline environment and social impact assessment report.
The Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas in collation with
Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment –ACODE had earlier cited legal
issues that need to be addressed before the report is approved.
Among the issues highlighted was the status of the firm which
made the assessment. According to CSCO, RSK environment Limited, an environment
practitioner that wrote the ESIA report is not registered with NEMA as required
by regulation 16 of the National Environment Regulations.
However, the NEMA Executive Director Dr. Tom Okurut, says
that the civil societies could have misinterpreted the laws and regulations.
Okurut notes that although RSK environment Limited based in the United Kingdom
is not registered in Uganda, it partnered with a local company as required by
Okurut says that since the oil and gas sector is still at its
infant stages in Uganda, some local firms could have not been able to solely
carry out the environment and social impact assessment per the required
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However, The CSCO National Coordinator James Muhindo insists
that although the law provides for a partnership between a foreign and local
company for such activities, the local company should have been the lead
partner which is not the case.
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Dickens Kamugisha, the Chief Executive officer Africa Institute
for Energy Governance-AFIEGO, says that they played their oversight role and
expected NEMA to critically look at their submission.
He says they are ready to battle the matter in Uganda and if
necessary they will as well drag the foreign companies which are breaching law
to their respective countries.
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Kamugisha notes that most of the action done in regard to
impact assessment in the oil sector has been done contrary to the laws and
heavily politicized which is posing danger for the country and also creating a
bad precedent for other actions as developers will always take the government
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Dr. Okurut notes that NEMA has been reviewing the report and currently
the process is in its last stages. he notes that having received feedback from
project developers on several areas of concern they are soon approving the
report with conditions.
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NEMA and CSOs have since highlighted a number of queries
which they say need to be addressed before construction of the pipeline takes
shape including among others the magnitude and sensitivity of the impacts which
are being underrated and ranked as non-significant.
Other issues include waste management and disposal, possible
leakages and spillages and management of ecosystems, as areas that need
emphasis during the much-anticipated construction of the Oil Pipeline.
The Uganda-Tanzania crude oil pipeline, also known as the
East African crude oil pipeline, is intended to transport crude oil from
Uganda’s oil fields to the port of Tanga, Tanzania. The 1,445km (898 miles)
pipeline with a diameter of 24 inches will be constructed at $3.5 billion. It
is planned to have a capacity to transport 216,000 barrels of crude oil per