Dr Koos Pretorius, Director of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, has submitted an objection to Shell's application for exploration rights in the Karoo.
The opening statement explains the process was defecient in establishing the closing date for comment, and continue with a slew of argued objections.
Included are the objections -
The Minister failed to notify and consult with the affected parties, including land owners and occupiers, explaining the nature and purpose of the decision that is to be made.
By its own admission the applicant, as stated by its Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP), namely Golder Associates, has not notified and consulted all land owners and occupiers despite the mandatory nature of this requirement as was recently held in the Constitutional Court in the Bengwenyama v Genorah case
The failure to identify the well sites and failure to apply for a reconnaissance permit to do so constitutes a fatal flaw in the consultative process since there is insufficient information of the impacts of the wells to be drilled in order for the applicant to meaningfully consult with affected parties. In the present circumstances however, it will be unjustifiable and unjust for the affected parties, and not the applicant, to pay the price for this lack of time [to meaningfully consult and engage].
The urgency and hurried nature of the application cannot be justified. The time, money and effort that will have to be expended on doing a proper [strategic environmental impact assessment] to inform as to the regional impact of this untoward dash for gas will be well spent. This is especially so when taking into account the vast areas that SASOL and Anglo is also apparently applying for. ( Rapport 3 April 2011)
The applicant has brought an application for 9 million hectares (90 000 km2), that is nearly 5 times the size of the Kruger National park. This vast area and population distribution has certain implications which must have been known to Shell when they lodged the 3 applications over such a vast area.
The assessment of the cumulative impact is also a failure. The applicant only assessed the cumulative impact of the footprints of the exploration wells ( even though the position is not known) and failed to assesses the potential impacts.
The full objection is available to download here (350kb)