EPA welcomes judgement upholding renewal of permit for first oil development project


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has welcomed a High Court decision upholding its decision to renew the environmental permit for the country’s first oil development project called Liza 1.

Justice Damon Younge last Monday denied the Orders requested by activists Danuta Radzik and Sinikka Henry. They wanted the Court to find that the EPA was wrong in deciding to renew the Environmental Permit. They also wanted the Court to find that the EPA needed to do an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before granting the renewal. Further, they argued that there should be no new conditions in a renewed permit. Radzik and Henry wanted the Court to determine that the EPA violated the law in not granting them information they requested.

The EPA said it welcomes the judge’s decision not to grant the order saying it is a “reminder to all that the EPA is a legally established entity mandated to act in accordance with its originating law.”

It urged “members of the public” to “participate in the environmental decision-making process by making lawful, meaningful and intelligent requests and contributions, in good faith.”

In this way, the EPA said it would be able to “judiciously meet its mandate of ensuring the effective management of Guyana’s environment as well as the sustainable use of its natural resources.”

In its arguments, the EPA said it contended that it acted in full compliance with the law when it decided to renew Environmental Permit 20160705-EEDPF, pointing out that the law did not require it to do an EIA before.

Further, in granting permits, the EPA said it was acting competently in including “such conditions as are reasonably necessary for human health and the environment in renewed Permits.”

The EPA denied that it failed to observe its duty to make required information available to the public in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act Cap 20:05.

The Agency said “the law had deliberately and intentionally set out what information could be accessed, by whom, at what stage, and in what manner.”

The EPA was represented by Frances Carryl, Shareefah Parks and Niomi Alsopp.

Justice Damon Younge ruled that it is for the EPA to decide whether any proposed project would impact the environment. Therefore, if it determines that no EIA is needed, then it’s within its power.

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