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Oil pipeline EIA report should not be approved – ACODE

Oil pipeline construction

Oil pipeline construction

Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) has petitioned the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) not to approve the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), saying it has legal issues to be addressed.

ACODE, in collaboration with Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas (CSCO), also states that RSK Ltd, an environment practitioner that wrote the ESIA report is not registered with NEMA and, therefore, not eligible to carry out the assessment.

“RSK Ltd, which conducted the ESIA, is not a recognized entity for the undertaking of environmental impact assessment in Uganda. This is contrary to section 111 of the NEMA Act and regulation 16 of the National Environment (Conduct and Certification of Environment Practitioners) Regulations 2003” said James Muhindo, the CSCO national coordinator. (EDITOR: RSK Environment Limited is, however, a registered company in the United Kingdom, and passed a rigorous process to be listed on Uganda’s National Supplier Database.)   

Addressing a press conference recently at ACODE offices, ACODE deputy director, Onesmus Mugyenyi said the absence of a legally responsible and accountable developer for the project is an outstanding issue that needs to be addressed prior to approving the project.

“The report indicates that Total East Africa Midstream BV is an interim developer of the EACOP project, and not the actual developer. The law applicable only recognizes a developer who must fully bear the responsibilities and liabilities, and not an interim developer,” Mugyenyi said.

“NEMA needed to have paid serious attention. We are realizing that that was not competently handled. The report comes up with generalized conclusions. Legally, when the actual developer is eventually incorporated, they will not be bound by commitments made before their incorporation, unless expressly provided and assigned in future agreements.”   

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Petroleum Authority of Uganda organized public hearings for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment report on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The consultative process of reviewing the ESIA report involved meetings with locals in the Albertine graben area.

The EACOP is one of the major oil and gas infrastructures envisaged in petroleum development in Uganda.

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 day. 

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