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East Coast Opposing Gas

The legitimacy of the public participation process in South Africa is being severely challenged by marginalising tactics from the oil and gas sector. There is a lot of pushing and shoving in the Operation Phakisa rush to produce 4000 megawatts of gas-to-power electricity by 2030. In this plan, which aims to “eradicate inequality and poverty”, there is little talk of the differential exposure and unequal protection that is becoming a worrying trend in the EIA public participation process. The only public engaged are those with devices and data, meaning those most likely to have their livelihoods and neighbourhoods impacted are being sidelined.

Many on the eastern seaboard consider this an injustice. Eastern Cape Environmental Network ’s (ECEN) Sibusiso Owen Ndidi has made it clear that their demands are that all EIA processes get put on hold until COVID-19 regulations are lifted, so that all local wards can be engaged in the process. ECEN have objected to two major applications which affect fisherfolk and local residents, namely the proposed gas to power powership project at the port of Ngqura and Coega SEZ, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, and the additional 10 offshore oil wells in the Total offshore blocks between Mossel and Plettenberg bays.

A Turkish gas-to-power floating power station has overstepped standard EIA requirements and has already arrived[1], making a farce of the public participation process, which should hear comments about the social and environmental risks of the project, not least of which is that gas, crude oil or diesel gets burned in on-board electricity generators to produce the electricity. Has anyone done the energy return on energy invested calculation for these ships and how they further impact our national carbon budget, and could that energy have been better spent in establishing climate resilient jobs?

Other ports earmarked for these giant gas-to-powerships are Richards Bay and Saldanha.

Oceans Not Oil welcomes the Eastern Cape Environmental Network (ECEN) into its affiliate network.

[1]See Toney Carney’s article in the Daily Maverick :

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