Uganda: Public hearings by govt. officials for Tullow Oil & Total oil project not adequate, claims columnist
Author: Doreen Namara, Daily Monitor (Uganda), Published on: 16 May 2019
"Tilenga EIA certificate won’t conserve the environment and protect livelihoods"
On April 15, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) issued an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate for the Tilenga oil project together with the conditions of approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Tilenga project. Tilenga project is located in areas with critical biodiversity such as Murchison Falls National Park, River Nile, Lake Albert, Budongo Forest Reserve, Bugungu Game Reserve and others in the districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, and Masindi, among others.
The certificate was issued to M/s Total E&P Uganda and M/s Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Limited as the developer for the development of six oil fields with 34 well pads, an industrial area, pipelines and other supporting infrastructure in Buliisa and Nwoya districts. Nema also attached 12 conditions to the certificate of approval for Tilenga project issued by the Authority, which are meant to address the challenges that are likely to negatively impact the environment and livelihoods. The bad news is that these conditions will not conserve the environment or protect livelihoods because the conditions are insufficient and others constrained by resources which makes it impossible for Nema to enforce them...
Clause 10(1) of the EIA Public Hearing Guidelines was also violated. The presiding officer denied youth groups, including the Guild Presidents’ Forum on Governance (GPFOG), an opportunity to make formal presentations. These youth groups had notified Nema three days before that they would make formal presentations at the public hearing, but they were not allowed to make a presentation in Nyowa contrarty to clause 10(1) of the EIA Public Hearing Guidelines, which state that any person with an interest in or affected by the subject matter of a hearing may contact the lead agency or the executive director not less than three days before the hearing is to commence to request a time period to appear personally or by legal counsel at the hearing.