ERM defends not circulating Final EIA Report for further comment.
This is the latest response from ENI about what they left out of the final EIA:
ERM Reference: 0414229
Exploration Right Number: 12/3/236
Eni South Africa BV (“Eni”), and Sasol Africa Limited (“Sasol”) hold an Exploration Right off the East Coast of South Africa. Eni and Sasol are considering the possibility of conducting an exploration drilling programme in Block ER236 (12/3/236) to assess the commercial viability of the hydrocarbon reservoir for future development. The project requires Environmental Authorisation (EA) from the National Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) under the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) (Act No. 107 of 1998), as amended, through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.
Acting as an independent assessment practitioner, ERM submitted the Final EIA Report to PASA for adjudication on 14 December 2018.
It has subsequently come to ERM’s attention that there was an oversight during the collation of the Comments and Response Report (CRR) (Annex B8 of the Final EIA Report) and supporting evidence of comments submitted (Annex B9 of the Final EIA Report). Some of the comments received were mistakenly omitted from the CRR and were not responded to by ERM (Annex A). Having carefully reviewed the omitted comments, ERM concludes that no information was presented in those comments that has not been addressed by responses to previous comments received earlier in the public participation process.
ERM has incorporated the above comments into a Supplementary CRR (“SCRR”) which will be submitted to PASA and circulated to stakeholders on 22 February 2019.
Because there was no new information in the omitted comments, responses to them, or the Final EIA Report, it follows that there was no legal obligation to circulate the Final EIA Report for further comment to the Interested and Affected Parties (“I&APs”) before submitting it to the decision-maker (Earthlife Africa Cape Town v Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Another 2005(3) SA 156 (C)). It also follows that since I&APs had no further right to comment on the Final EIA Report and the Specialists Reports, they suffer no prejudice as a result of the circulation of the SCRR.
The Final EIA Report and Specialist Reports are substantially compliant with the EIA Regulations and they together with the SCRR, are available at the following public platforms:
- On the Project Website: www.erm.com/eni-exploration-eia.
Hard copies of the SCRR, will also be available at the following Libraries by 27 February 2019:
- Durban Central Lending Public Library;
- Richards bay Library;
- Port Shepstone Library;
- East London Central Library;
- Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality – Linton Grange Library; and
- Austerville Public Library
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