EPA has the authority to correct the outdated Liza Phase One license
By Kemol King
Kaieteur News – Given recent disclosures that there is no commitment to comprehensive disaster insurance incorporated into Lizxon ExxonMobil’s Phase One environmental permit, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the opportunity to go back and revise the document so that is Guyana caught in a ring. of debt for generations in the event of a massive oil spill.
The agency, led by Sharifah Razack, can ensure Exxon provides documented assurance that it accepts unlimited liability for any disaster that occurs at its Liza Phase One production operation, where up to 120,000 barrels of oil are sourced produced daily.
Former Head of the EPA, Dr. Vincent Adams, having assured in his time there, that ExxonMobil – the parent company – not its smaller endowment subsidiary, accepts unlimited liability for any disaster during petroleum production in its Phase Two Liza operation. The provision would go on to be included in future licenses of all oil companies.
During a recent phone call with Dr. Adams, it was confirmed that the provision was still absent from Liza’s Phase One license.
Unlike the Stabroek Block Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), environmental permits are not bound by rigid stabilization clauses. They do not need the contractor’s agreement for the terms to be amended. The EPA has the authority to change the permit as it sees fit to keep pace with new environmental standards. Section 13 of Liza’s Phase One license, which speaks to the Institutional Authority, states: “The EPA reserves the right to review and revise the conditions attached to this License in accordance with Regulation 14 of the Environmental Protection (Authorization) Regulations, 2000. ”
Similarly, the Regulations state in Section 14 (1): “The Agency may at any time by notice in writing to the license holder, cancel or suspend an environmental authorization or impose any conditions imposed by the Agency consider appropriate in addition to or in place of the existing conditions, effective from any date specified by the Agency provided that the cancellation, suspension or modification does not result in an additional adverse effect. “
Then in 14 (2): “The Agency may cancel, suspend or modify an environmental authorization during its currency for any of the following reasons … the Agency establishes new or revised standards in relation to operations” r facility. [among others]. ”
The environmental permit expires on June 1, 2022 – thanks to a recent court ruling that reduced the illegal 20+ life span granted by the David Granger administration, to five years as the law allows.
At this time, Exxon’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) and its parent company, would have to apply for a new environmental permit and be subject to the new standards.
However, the expiration date is 18 months away. If the EPA does not move to change the license now and correct this loophole that allows Exxon freedom to walk away and leave Guyana open, any major oil spill that occurs in this period would go to the country for years.
Thousands of marine life would die in and out of Guyana, and tanking, tourism and other sectors of the CARICOM region could be tanked for years, threatening the livelihoods of millions of people.
Alaska still has the remains of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill that occurred more than 30 years ago. Before Guyana becomes an Exxon oil victim, as was Alaska in 1989, the EPA has a chance to protect the country by amending the lieutenant’s license.