Government breaks silence over Shell’s Wild Cost blasting… South Africans and countless individuals across the world who care about the state of the environment have been up in arms at the announcement that Shell will be blasting the ocean floors in search of oil.
Shell has appointed Shearwater GeoServices to conduct the survey, which will last around five months and cover more than 6,000km² of ocean surface. The survey is set to take place 20km off the shore of the Wild Coast as many note the major environmental impact and irreversible damage this could have on this pristine and wildlife abundant region. Countless protests have taken place with many calling on the public to boycott Shell service stations during the peak season of December.
Despite the uproar, the South African government has been tight-lipped… until now. The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has released its much-anticipated official statement.
In the statement, the DFFE notes the public’s concern regarding the seismic survey that will be conducted by Shell and Impact Africa Limited off the coast of South Africa and states that this has been authorised under the “Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002), (MRPDA),” which requires the submission of an environmental management plan which assesses and evaluates the environmental impacts of the activity.
Furthermore, the statement notes that the Minister of Minerals Resources and Energy is the Minister responsible for the administration of the MPRDA and is the individual who makes the final decision regarding the authorisation of the seismic survey.
Read the full statement below:
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has noted concerns about the seismic surveys to be conducted by Shell and Impact Africa Limited off the coast of South Africa between December and February 2022.
The impact of the seismic survey to be undertaken by Shell and Impact Africa has been authorised under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002), (MRPDA) which under section 39(2) of the Act requires the submission of an environmental management plan which is to assess and evaluate the environmental impacts of the activity.
The Minister of Minerals Resources and Energy is the Minister responsible for the administration of the MPRDA, the Minister responsible for environmental affairs is, therefore, not mandated to consider the application or to make a decision on the authorisation of the seismic survey.
It should be noted that since the coming into effect of the One Environment System on 8 December 2014, the application process for the seismic surveys was finalised. All decisions made under the MPRDA at the time remain valid and binding until set aside by a court of law.
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