Is Oil Hunt in Ugandan NParks a Real Test to Africa’s Eco or Legal defenses?
Some of the latest articles on oil developments in Uganda are not very clear on what is being done by both government and companies in Uganda.
When speaking to some key environmentalists in Uganda it was clear that both Uganda Wildlife Authority and oil companies (Total and others) are already conducting activities in protected areas of Uganda by ignoring national laws.
For instance, it seems like some articles avoid to point out legal gaps:
1 / Under sections 18(2)(a)(5), 19(1) of Uganda Wildlife Act and regulation 12 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 1998, any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in a park must involve a public hearing, this hasn’t been done. So, whether Total and others employ the best technologies or not, they are failing the first step—OBSERVANCE OF THE NATIONAL LAWS.
2 / There might be no express prohibition of extractive activities in protected areas in Uganda, the reading of section 18(5) and (6), clearly shows that regulated extraction is allowed in game reserves but PROHIBITED IN GAME PARKS. So, oil activities in National Parks at the moment are not based on clear laws but the some convenient/biased interpretations.
In another related story, on Saturday of 9th July, one of Uganda’s dailies reported how oil companies via their contractors dumped human waste in Buliisa, Uganda. The company that dumped the waste was contracted by Tullow:
“This is not the first time Tullow is being accused of dumping waste in all wrong places. The oil company has severally been put on the spot for dumping toxic drilling waste in the game park and in areas occupied by people. On all the occasions, Ms Adengo consistently denied the accusations saying Tullow follows ‘NEMA regulation and doesn’t dump waste in the park’ Source
Conclusion: the protection/conservation of people and environment is still being overshadowed by the rush for oil, even in Uganda.
SV et al.
Oil hunt in Ugandan national park tests Africa’s eco defenses
(Reuters) – Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park is bisected by the majestic Nile river and boasts some of Africa’s wildlife treasures – elephants, lions and a rare giraffe sub-species.
Beneath it lies another natural prize: oil. Now French energy giant Total has begun surveys to prepare for seismic tests in the national park, one of Uganda’s last great wilderness areas, as a prelude to probable crude production.
Total and the Ugandan government insist oil can be extracted from under the national park in a way that minimizes harm to its eco-system, starting with the seismic testing. This uses new that they say is less disruptive than traditional methods for pinpointing oil reserves.
Environmentalists are watching what happens at the national park, which lies at the heart of a scramble by oil companies into east and central Africa for untapped hydrocarbon reserves.
“This is one of the first cases of oil exploration and development in a national park in Africa. As such, Total should realize that the eyes of the world are on them,” said Alistair McNeilage, Uganda Country Director for the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society.
For more Read the full article here – Source: REUTERS