Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams has expressed confidence that the oil companies operating offshore Guyana will do right by the country as it is in their best interest to act in a manner that is safe.
During an exclusive interview moments ago, Dr. Adams said, “…I expect that they will take all the necessary precautions. So I have confidence in the oil companies…”
By the same token, Dr. Adams said that the EPA still has a role to verify and monitor the compliance systems the oil companies have in place. Asked if he is comfortable with the resources that are at the EPA’s disposal to carry out that role in an effective manner, the EPA Head answered in the negative. The official told the Guyana Standard that it would be dishonest of him if he said otherwise.
Dr. Adams said, “It would be dishonest of me to say we are where we need to be. We are still not in the comfort zone that we would like to be in, in terms of having all the resources we need. Hopefully, our proposed budget to achieve this would be approved soon.”
With respect to the agency’s ability to monitor the sector, Dr. Adams revealed that assistance from the World Bank has paved the way for an organizational structure for a new unit to be completed. He said that the new department will be referred to as the Oil and Gas Unit and will have 36 highly skilled staff members, inclusive of experienced Petroleum and Environmental Engineers.
Dr. Adams said it is highly unlikely that a small fraction of that 36-member unit would be locals. He said that outsourcing would have to be done thereby resulting in higher remuneration packages.
In addition to the human resources, the EPA Head noted that the agency still needs a lot of equipment to monitor the sector for air emissions as well as monitoring the disposal of hazardous waste.
“So the reality is, if I don’t have the added resources, we would not be fully ready for monitoring of the sector. We will have to rely on what is written into the permit, the rigid provisions. We would be limited in checking on how that too but would do the best we can with whatever resources we have,” the EPA Head concluded.