Cape Town - The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) recently announced the suspension of the application for environmental authorisation for the proposed gas-to-power Karpowership project at the Port of Saldanha Bay.
Environmental justice NPO the Green Connection lodged a formal complaint on May 31 with the DEFF against Triplo4 Sustainable Solutions regarding the environmental assessment practitioners’ failure to comply with environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations regarding the EIA for the powership project in Saldanha Bay.
Green Connection’s complaint proved to be fruitful with the news of the suspension of the application for the environmental authorisation for the Karpowership project.
Green Connection strategic lead Liz McDaid said the basis for the complaint was the practitioners’ failure to conduct a specialist study of the potential consequences or impacts of underwater noise generated by the ships – on the environment and marine resources of Saldanha Bay – prior to the submission of their final EIA report.
According to Integrated Environmental Authorisations chief director Sabelo Malaza, the department suspected the non-compliance by the practitioners was based on a variety of factors, including negligence in ensuring their EIA report set out the environmental impacts, mitigation and closure outcomes, as well as the residual risks of the project.
“Failure to conduct a specialist study of the potential consequences or impacts on the environment and marine resources of Saldanha Bay, especially those on which small-scale fishers depend on for their livelihoods,” said Malaza.
Malaza said the concern voiced by the practitioners at a meeting on April 19, that their EIA report must be submitted to the DEFF by April 25, was not a reason to exempt the practitioners from complying with the EIA regulations.
McDaid said the organisation and its supporters welcomed the news of the suspension, because it meant the department was taking the complaint seriously.
“I hope that the investigation and subsequent action will make environmental consultants take their jobs seriously and ensure to present information in an unbiased way and do all the necessary work before handing reports in to the government,” said McDaid.