Eco-justice organisation Green Connection said they would continue to oppose government’s ’worrying offshore oil and gas aspirations’.
ECO-JUSTICE organisation Green Connection said they would continue to oppose government’s “worrying offshore oil and gas aspirations” and have called on TotalEnergies Exploration & Production South Africa (TEEPSA) to withdraw their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) application for exploration well drilling off the West Coast.
The organisation, on behalf of coastal communities who are affected by exploration well drilling, said they are against plans to pursue more offshore oil and gas because of the threats to the ocean, their livelihoods, and way of life.
Green Connection said they had made comments on the Draft Scoping Report (DSR), as part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process being undertaken in respect of an application for authorisation to undertake exploration well drilling in Block 5/6/7 off the West Coast of South Africa.
Green Connection said the transition to renewable energy should be considered as opposed to “starting new fossil fuel projects, which will contribute to carbon dioxide and methane emissions well into the future”.
Green Connection said TEEPSA should withdraw their application and have it resubmitted to the appropriate competent authority.
“Green Connection submits that a credible peer review mechanism should be established as part of the EIA process for all Technical Modelling Studies and Specialist Reports. The Green Connection submits further that detailed and precise terms of reference for each technical modelling study, specialist study and peer review should be clearly stated in the DSR, together with the details of each specialist and suggested peer reviewers,” DSR comments read.
Enquiries for comment from TEEPSA and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) were not answered by deadline.
Green Connection’s community outreach co-ordinator Neville van Rooy said: “What is most concerning is that… South Africa’s oceans have been divided into blocks that are being leased off to foreign companies who aim to exploit this necessary resource for unnecessary offshore oil and gas. It seems that the government has put a lot of faith in the development potential of oil and gas, even with compelling evidence to the contrary. Not only will it worsen the climate crises, but these projects will also potentially result in higher unemployment, since it could directly and indirectly threaten the livelihoods of small-scale fisher families.”
Strategic lead, Liziwe McDaid, said the widespread belief that natural gas could serve as a feasible transition fuel to help move from a fossil fuel-based energy system to one that relies more on sustainable renewable energy, was “deeply problematic”.
“Since the next 20 years present a critical window for addressing the climate crisis, it not desirable for the country to continue to rely too heavily on fuels that will inevitably add to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as natural gas, which includes methane.”