Shell is moving forward with the seismic study of the wild coast despite …
With just a day before the start of a seismic survey looking for oil and gas on the rugged Eastern Cape coast, the backlash continues between Shell and environmental activists calling for the study to be stopped.
Cullinan & Associates, acting on behalf of the Border Deep Sea Angling Association (BDSAA’s), Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club and Natural Justice, sent follow-up letters to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, and the Department of Forests, of Fisheries and the Environment on November 23.
Express Petroleum, a fuel supplier with 35 stations in the Eastern Cape on Friday cut ties with Shell and ditched the Shell brand of all its stations and vehicles.
However, Shell said on Monday it was continuing the investigation.
During the weekend Daily Maverick reported that Shell’s planned seismic survey off the Wild Coast, due to begin on Wednesday, is just one of many offshore exploration projects underway or planned along the South African coast. No less than four other explorations are underway or have already started.
A petition – initially addressed to Minister of Forests, Fisheries and Environment Barbara Creecy, then addressed to Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe – to withdraw the approval of the seismic survey Shell had gathered 341 456 signatures Monday.
Creecy has distanced itself, as well as its department, from the fallout. Spokesman Albi Modise said Creecy and the Ministry of the Environment had not been involved in the decision-making process for the proposed exploration activities.
He said the application process was finalized before the Single Environmental System, which serves to integrate different aspects of environmental management of mining activities, came into effect in December 2014.
He said the authorization was granted in 2014 under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Law by then Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi.
Mantashe, the current minister, declined to comment on the matter.
BDSAA Vice Chairman John Luef said Monday that BDSAA members were furious about the planned seismic survey.
“We have sent a very firm letter of opposition to the Minister of Forests, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy. Our attorneys, Cullinan & Associates, have sent follow-up letters, ”he said.
Luef said it is ludicrous that the investigation is even considered an option by the government in one of South Africa’s coastal waters, “let alone the wild coastline which is extremely rich in biodiversity and sensitive. We will not accept this and we will do everything in our power to stop it. ”
He said the seismic explosion is an imminent disaster and “that is why all the citizens of this country should get involved to put an end to this absolute madness.”
The BDSAA took this position, Luef said, because:
- There is no evidence, scientific or otherwise, that the seismic blasting will not harm the extreme biodiversity of the wild coast and possibly cause damage, confusion and even death to the many species of life in the ocean.
- The rugged coast is home to endemic species such as the red steenbras, seventy-four and wrecks as well as many other fish species like the dageraad, which are threatened on the brink of total collapse, and the planned blasting will take place in and at next to their breeding grounds.
- There is no evidence or research available as to the damage that will be caused to marine protected areas (MPAs) adjacent to the blasting. BDSAA members have noticed a significant increase in catch rates of many species lately, which can be attributed, among other reasons, to the good functioning of MPAs as fish become overcrowded and migrate out of MPAs. All the hard protection work in the past may come to naught.
- The whole world is moving towards greener energy, yet our government, which participated in COP26, has agreed to move forward with this potential environmental catastrophe in the search for fossil fuels.
“The South African government and Minister Creecy are doing a 180 [degree turn] on what they have declared publicly, it is their mandate to facilitate a path of economic growth that is equitable, inclusive, sustainable and respectful of the environment. A path in accordance with our Constitution, which promotes sustainable development and the right of everyone to enjoy an environment that does not harm our health or our well-being. The proof that our sea creatures and our environment will not be affected is what we want, ”said Luef.
He said the BDSAA trained the first three MPAs in the border waters, monitored them and punished any members caught fishing in those waters.
“We finally succeeded in having these MPAs promulgated by the government and we were continuously involved in their maintenance of order and environmental issues concerning the future of our heritage. We are proud of our involvement. The BDSAA considers this seismic explosion an imminent disaster, ”he said.
Last week, Express Petroleum said it is extremely passionate about South Africa and cares deeply about the future sustainability of its coastline.
“We would like to inform all of our customers and concerned citizens that Express Petroleum is in no way involved and that we do not support the widely publicized seismic explosions that are occurring off the rugged coast of South Africa by Shell.” , the company said.
Express Petroleum said they have already sourced products from alternative sources and have started removing the brand from all of their co-branded retail sites as well as removing all Shell branding from their vehicles and assets from there. ‘business.
A Shell spokesperson said Monday they were engaging directly with Express Petroleum.
“We plan to continue the investigation, as we have fulfilled all of our legal obligations for the investigation,” she said. DM / OBP