By PATRICK TALU
HIDES PDL1, Hides PDL7, Angore PDL8 and Juha PDL9 landowners from the LNG project areas have aligned to support Gulf Governor Havila Kavo in the fight against possible environmental damages by the project.
On Saturday, Jackson Waruai and Simon Ekanda, Hiwa-Tuguba Landowners Association chairmen representing Hides PDL1, presented a letter of engagement to Bafike Krongu, principal consultant of Chem Clean Environmental Services who undertook the review of the environmental impact study (EIS) conducted by ExxonMobil.
Mr Ekanda said the possible environmental damages to the Gulf waters and seas and along the pipeline route and project sites were serious issues and landowners and stakeholders would pursue the matter until the value of damages are ratified.
“We believe the environmental plan and the EIS report submitted by ExxonMobil and partners to the State are inadequate and superficial,” he said.
He also described an advertised statement placed by Environment Minister Benny Allan on April 1 as “lacking in substance and sincerity”.
“The minister wants PNG to believe that everything that ExxonMobil does is perfect.
“He speaks like an ExxonMobil CEO. Isn’t this pathetic, especially when ExxonMobil’s work, in respect of social mapping and landowner identification studies (SMLIS), is highly questionable?
“Our view is that ExxonMobil had done a superficial job in relation to SMLIS, which is a mandatory regulatory requirement under section 147 of the Oil and Gas Act,” Mr Ekanda said.
He said the minister needed to finance independent environmental scientists to work with the affected communities to quantify and qualify ExxonMobil’s work on the two key environmental areas.
Mr Allan and his secretary Dr Wari Iamo and ExxonMobil could not be reached for comments.