Hides landowners block plant

National, Normal

The National,Thursday19 January 2012

HIDES Gas landowners are demanding that ExxonMobil build a permanent water supply.
To back their demand they blocked off the Hides Conditioning Plant and the road leading to Hides One gas power plant over the weekend.
Landowner leaders yesterday met with ExxonMobil officials in Port Moresby claiming that their source of water for drinking, washing and cooking had been contaminated by development in the area and they needed clean water supply.
Landowner leaders Lemson Mabiria, Chris Paiabe, John Kaloma, Andy Hamaga and Hengebe Haluya met with ExxonMobil representatives Bill Emmons and Bill Okopi.
Haluya, as spokesman, said yesterday landowners closed down the two plants over the weekend demanding that ExxonMobil build water supply facilities to make up for the damage done to the creeks and streams in the area.
“Twenty-two creeks in Hides have now turned to yellow and muddy waters compared to the fresh water in the past that was used for drinking, cooking and washing.”
He claimed that as a result two children died last year and another two had been admitted to Tari Hospital on Saturday and were still on their sick beds.
Haluya also said earlier an elderly woman who took a bath in a creek lost all her hair shortly after.
He said the people believe this was linked to the contaminated water.
“Landowners have stopped the project basically to call on ExxonMobil to put in water supply for Hides PDL 1-7.
“We cannot survive without water,” Haluya said.
He said although ExxonMobil had put in 23 tuffa tanks it was a temporary arrangement and could not cater for the area.
“In our meeting, we called on ExxonMobil to engage Eda Ranu or PNG Water Board to do the water project to supply Komo if they want to deliver the LNG project on schedule without further interruptions.”
He said the leaders were behind their people in taking such action because the developer had failed to deliver promises of building permanent houses for displaced landowners.
“We leaders appeal to ExxonMobil to find money to fund a water supply for upstream landowners if they want to deliver their gas on time,” Haluya said.