The Environmental Permits being issued to oil and gas operators have no provisions or fees for noncompliance. Be that as it may, the Environmental Protection Act of 1996 which was perused by this news agency gives the EPA the power to cancel such operations if breaches of the permit are detected.
Section 13 (1) of the Act states, “A decision by the Agency to issue an environmental permit for a project shall be subject to conditions which are reasonably necessary to protect human health and the environment and each environmental permit shall contain the following implied conditions:- (a) the Agency shall have the right to cancel or suspend the environmental permit if any of the terms or conditions of the environmental permit are breached;…”
Speaking with Guyana Standard today, EPA Head, Dr. Vincent Adams acknowledged that the permits being granted to the oil sector do not have noncompliance provisions. He noted however that strengthening the permits is a work in progress.
The Environmental and Petroleum Engineer said, “A lot of work was done to ensure we get the language right. As you know, we have put provisions in place to get the oil companies to go through a local broker for their insurance policy. They cannot self-insure.”
Dr. Adams added, “We also have a provision in the permit now which says that the EPA can have access to the operations at any time. We don’t have to give notice. Another thing we agreed to is that the permits would not be granted if the Field Development Plans (FDP) are not given the green light by the Energy Department.”
Bayphase Oil and Gas Consultants, a UK based firm was contracted a few months ago to conduct the FDP reviews.
Dr. Adams said that the Energy Department and the EPA are working closely to ensure that issues related to the oil sector are addressed in the best interest of the nation.