No link between Whiptail oil project and tsunamis- EPA


See below full release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): 

The EIA for the Whiptail Development Project does not indicate any link between the proposed project’s activities and Tsunamis.

Tsunamis are natural events resulting from undersea earthquakes caused by movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates. The Whiptail Development Project EIA informs that the likelihood of natural events such as tsunamis impacting the Development Project is minimal.

The EPA finds the information presented by the Kaieteur News on 21st April, 2024, to be highly misleading. The public EIA document referenced by the newspaper contextualizes the activities in the Production Development Area (PDA) in relation to various natural disasters, including Tsunamis, as part of a comprehensive futuristic EIA assessment of risk.

To provide clarity for the public, the Agency presents a summary of the findings of the EIA for Whiptail Development Project – published in August 2023 and updated in April 2024 – in order to address the misleading assertions in the Kaieteur News article of 21st April 2024.

Firstly, the section of the EIA titled “Natural Hazard Risk Ratings for Guyana” highlighted findings from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) assessments in 2014. These assessments, conducted as part of a global initiative, identified floods, droughts, and landslides as the most significant risks to Guyana based on historical records. Notably, historical data did not indicate tsunami risk to Guyana. Nevertheless, futuristic assessments by UNISDR took into account the potential impact of tsunamis on Guyana. According to UNISDR 2014, while floods pose the most significant risk, the risks from earthquakes and tsunamis were deemed not significant enough to be included in the economic analysis due to their predicted low recurrence interval.

Secondly, the Production Development Area (PDA) is situated approximately 294 kilometers from the boundary between the Caribbean and South American plates and over 1,050 kilometers from the nearest area of active seismic activity (near Puerto Rico). Moreover, Guyana lies within the stable interior portion (craton) of the South American tectonic plate, indicating minimal seismic risks to the country.

Lastly, a seismic hazard map developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Hazard Mapping Program illustrates that there is only a 2 percent chance within 50 years of a very minor seismic event occurring in the PDA. Such an event would likely not even be perceptible to individuals at the exact location.

In conclusion, the EPA emphasizes that the information provided by Kaieteur News was deliberately presented in a manner to mislead the public and did not accurately reflect the findings of the EIA regarding the risks associated with the Whiptail Production Development Area. It must be emphatically stated that the Whiptail EIA does not indicate any link between the Project’s activities and Tsunamis.

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