DESPITE the many strong objections lodged by anti-frackers in the Midlands at a series of meetings, the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (Pasa) has accepted the scoping report submitted by Rhino Oil and Gas, which allows the company to continue with the environmental impact assessment (EIA).
In a statement issued last week SLR Consulting stated: “The acceptance means that SLR Consulting (Pty) Ltd, as the independent environmental assessment practitioner, may continue with the EIA process in accordance with the Plan of Study presented in Section 7 of the Scoping Report. Note that this acceptance does not constitute an approval of the exploration right application in terms of section 79 of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (28 of 2002).”
Registered interested and affected parties will be advised in due course of further opportunities for engagement with the project team as well as the availability of the EIA Report for review.
This does not mean that fracking will start, because Rhino will have to go through multiple procedures which could take up to three years.
But it is vital that anti-frackers continue to oppose any possibility of fracking in KZN. Equally, environmental organisations would have to monitor each step of the way to ensure that proper tests would carried out and that the communities, especially rural communities, understood the consequences of gas drilling.
Frackfree SA issued a statement when the above was made known: “If you have not received a notice of the Acceptance of the Rhino Oil & Gas Scoping Report for Exploration Right PASA 12/3/291 ER in KZN Midlands (Richmond, Greytown, Mooi River, Howick) from SLR Consulting, it means you are not registered as an interested and affected party (IAP).
“It is important that you register because now the EIA phase has started and you need to be ready to participate and comment again.” (email info@frackfree sa.org.za)
Apart from the fact that fracking is water greedy and South Africa is water scarce, there is also considerable debate on how viable fossil fuels are to the economic future of the country
Rhino Oil and Gas, chief operating officer, Phillip Steyn said the exploration process would only begin when the regulator granted the exploration right, which would only happen when an environmental authorisation was granted.