Outdated EPA regulations are being updated – Kaieteur News

Outdated EPA regulations are being updated

Kaieteur News – The Guyana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published new guidelines for conducting and reviewing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for large-scale projects to be carried out in Guyana – specifically targeting the Oil and Gas and Energy sectors Emerging Renewables.
According to the new guidelines – since posted on the EPA website – the update includes a generic manual and stand-alone appendices, for the upstream hydrocarbons, power, forestry and mining sectors.
The EPA, in announcing its ‘New Rules and Procedures for Conducting and Reviewing Environmental Impact Assessments’, said, “the emerging oil and gas sector and the potential to introduce related industries are downstream suggests major economic opportunities. “
This is at the same time a “challenge” for pollution control regulators, resource managers, environmental civil society organizations and those who may be affected by these new types of industries. “
According to the EPA, the new guidance specifically addresses seven sectors and addresses climate vulnerability, international treaties, opportunities for renewable energy and the emerging petroleum sector the obvious: “With these gaps being filled, the EPA should now be able to more accurately assess new and complex. projects and monitoring and mitigating their social and environmental impacts. ”
In addition, the updated guidelines will now be able to meet international best practices for EIA conduct, preparation, and review, the EPA said. According to the document, the EPA began in 2017 to develop draft EIA Guidelines for Offshore Oil Exploration and Production and these are intended to cover all stages of offshore hydrocarbon development.
The guidance developed covers the exploration phase and covers areas such as seismic surveys and exploration drilling. In addition, the new guidelines provide for the development of oil projects, including outline drilling, site development, servicing, operations and closures. These were never completed, the report noted.
In 2019, the EPA also developed draft EIA screening criteria, for identifying general and specific circumstances in which proposed projects would be subject to EIA. According to the EPA, these criteria were designed as a tool to distinguish between projects whose expected effects are unlikely to be significant and those projects whose expected effects are likely to be significant and therefore, would be required. they have EIA.
The EPA said that in 2020, the agency also developed a numerical screening tool, using environmental and social criteria, to facilitate the process for determining the significance of an impact and when to proceed with an EIA.
It has since noted that Guyana’s economic, social, and technological landscape has changed significantly since the Act’s inception and as such, the guidelines have been revised.
In this context, the report highlighted that the emerging oil and gas sector and the potential to deliver related industries downstream suggest major economic opportunities, while at the same time presenting challenges to pollution control regulators, resource managers, environmental civil society organizations and those. which may be affected by these new types of industries.
To address these challenges, the EPA said it was reviewing international standards and best practice procedures for conducting EIA and International Finance EIA requirements
Corporation (IFC-World Bank Group) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The new EIA Guidelines, according to the EPA are an update of existing rules and procedures for
allow development, implementation and implementation of projects.
In addition, sector guidelines for mining, forestry, electricity generation including thermal transfer and hydropower and electricity have been updated and consolidated in the appendices of the EIA 2020 Guidelines.
Among the significant developments that led to the dissemination of the updated guidance, the EPA noted in its new document, “in 2000, then later in 2004, following the amendment of the Guyana Environmental Protection Act (1996), the EPA prepared a handbook providing guidance for conducting, preparing and reviewing an EIA. ”
Those guidelines, he said, included general and sector-specific rules and procedures for conducting, preparing and reviewing EIA.
“Between 2000 and now, Guyana’s economic, social, technological and physical landscape has changed significantly … As a result, those guidelines became obsolete and needed updating,” the EPA said.

International Standards
The EPA stated that the 2020 Guidelines are intended to provide the Agency, the Environmental Assessment Board, Sector Agencies, Developers, the Private Sector, NGOs, Members of the Public and Consultants and any other stakeholders with a set of approved guidelines. for conducting and reviewing ESIAs in Guyana
Reflected in the approved guidelines, the EPA said, are the key guiding principles for environmental management in Guyana, described in the Environmental Protection Act.
These five principles, the EPA said, include the polluter charge principle whereby the polluter should bear the cost of the pollution reduction and remediation measures decided by public authorities to make the environment in an acceptable condition and should compensate citizens for any harm they suffer. against pollution.
In addition, the new guidelines embrace the precautionary principle, provisions for strict liability, evasion and others including those leading the use of technology.
Financial support was provided by the World Wildlife Fund and the Dutch Commission for Environmental Assessment to hire consultants to update and develop the new guidelines. The Oil and Gas Guidelines were developed with the EPA through a consultancy by Dr. Heike Pflasterer from ECONCEPT, Germany.