After oil drilling started, environmental impact is still a mysteryEl impacto ambiental del petróleo: un misterio por resolver

While the Turkana community, civil society and local government are all concerned about how recent oil finds and European exploratory drilling contracts awarded in Northern Kenya will impact the already fragile environment where most of the population receives emergency food aid due to drought, they rarely refer to very documents that should predict such damage. For the most part, their reason is that they have never seen the assessments.

Those from outside the government who have seen them, said they are not very reassuring. According to a study commissioned by the United Kingdom Department for International Development and published in June 2013, a $50 million dollar World Bank Grant for natural resource governance requires the government to first conduct a strategic environmental and social assessment to protect water supplies, the habitat, tourism agriculture and pastoralism. Turkana, the poorest region of Kenya is a desert where most of the population is dependent on food aid and scarce water resources.

The World Bank found the Government of Kenya unprepared to protect them or their environment from the emerging oil market.Water supplied by the Kabulokor irrigation project in Loima Constituency from a nearby river is not enough to meet expansion needs. Turkana leaders wonder where funds will come from to ensure that water is not diverted from community use or contaminated by oil production.

Water supplied by the Kabulokor irrigation project in Loima Constituency from a nearby river is not enough to meet expansion needs.Turkana leaders wonder where funds will come from to ensure that water is not diverted from community use or contaminated by oil production.It found the National Environmental Management Authority, the government body tasked with environmental protection, in need of more resources and more training in order to conduct environmental oversight.

Lex Huurdeman, a specialist in oil, gas and mining in East Africa for the World Bank, said an initial World Bank analysis triggered a safeguard policy for environmental assessments. That means before the World Bank project can be approved the World Bank, and the government, have to agree on a strategic social and environmental impact assessment conducted by external experts and funded by the project. Meanwhile, drilling has already begun.

Environmental Impact Assessments nowhere to be found

To obtain the Environmental Impact Assessments for drilling in Turkana for this investigation, three journalists made at least 10 phone calls to the Nairobi and Lodwar offices for the Natural Environmental Management Authority, which led to officials sending the soft copy of the EIA for just one block: 13T in southern Turkana. The Ministry of Energy has carved up Kenya into blocks and awarded rights over these areas to oil companies. One additional EIA for drilling and several seismic assessments were obtained in hard copy from other NGOs with special access and through a surprise visit to the NEMA office in Lodwar

The Natural Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), are the custodians of these crucial documents. Each exploratory drilling company has to commission an Environmental Impact Assessment before receiving permission for exploratory drilling in a designated area, called a block. The assessments are supposed to anticipate damage to the people and the environment and spell out the plan for mitigating these effects through a process that includes input from all groups that could be affected.

Under the Environmental Management and Coordination Act the government actually has to make public the EIA and seek public comment before issuing online pfizer viagra an impact assessment license. The Environmental Impact Assessment for Drilling in Block 13T obtained during the course of this investigation stated: “[The community] said that they had not yet seen previous EIA reports such as the EIA report for Block 10BB and that information concerning previous EIA had not yet reached them.” The community’s concerns were also echoed in the EIA, and substantiated by NGOs and the County Executives.

The community concerns were echoed in the EIA, by NGOs and by the County Executives for Energy and Pastoral Affairs: fences have been erected without the consent of the pastoralists who used to graze their animals in the area; water sources may be contaminated and favoritism and nepotism are distorting local employment opportunities.

NGOs who had seen the documents said they were of little use to the public. Ikal Ang’elei, Director of Friends of Lake Turkana, noted that there are gaps in the law that would require the timely release of environmental documents to enable better public engagement before drilling. “By the time, for instance, [that] we got the EIA reports for Tullow drilling sites, work had already begun. We need to have a timeframe on the actual process, interrogating the document and engaging the public before the exploration starts.”

He said the laws were stricter at the extraction stage. Eliud Emeri, Executive Director of Tubae Africa Development Trust, an environmental institution advocating for sustainable use of natural resources in Turkana County, has read earlier EIAs. He said that they were merely a formality “borrowed from other countries.” Their investigation found that much of the content was cut and pasted from EIAs in Ghana and Nigeria and only the names and photos were changed. For example, the EIA for the Ngamia site was a copy of that of the Niger Delta EIA. They complained and Emeri said that the quality of EIAs has since improved.

The Turkana County NEMA officer Richard Kerich said that his office receives a limited number of copies of each assessment, which they share with cialis use a few local government officers and some civil society groups. They also keep a copy which any interested party can borrow and photocopy. They did not have soft copies to distribute, as the Nairobi office categorizes all oil drilling assessments as “high risk” and does not hand them out. Most civil society organizations and government officials we spoke with were not aware they were available outside of Nairobi and NEMA officials in Nairobi declined to comment. The county cabinet-level County Executive for Energy and the Environment and for Pastoral Economy and Fisheries told us in an interview that they had never seen the Environmental Impact Assessments but were concerned about displaced pastoralists and environmental damage.

Turkana County officer explained that the environment function was not devolved to counties except for pollution control, so his role was minimal. All documents are handled from the headquarters in Nairobi though companies need the sign-off of the local NEMA branch before drilling starts. Tullow Oil is supposed to present yearly environmental compliance reports, but only after they start oil extraction, which will not be for several years.

The national NEMA office declined multiple requests for an interview about their role in compliance. According to Hadley Becha, of the Oil & Gas Working Group, “We have to watchdog the private sector to make sure they are living up to international standards and measure how open the sector is because it is quite secretive.” The Environmental Impact Assessments are supposed to be published on the NEMA website, he said. “Community expectations are raised because of the secrecy: if they are hiding it, there must be a reason, while that might not be the case.”

The Turkana County Executive for Energy and Environment Rhoda Loyar said that companies have denied displacement of pastoralists and said they would rehabilitate the environment, returning it the way they had found it to avoid paying compensation to local communities. For the nomadic Turkana, displacement includes fencing off of pastoral lands, disruption of grazing and migration routes and changes to water access.

Gaps in environmental and social policy enforcement “Under the current Petroleum Act, especially during the seismic exploration surveys, there is an article for compensation, but we don’t have any regulation that expounds on how that compensation should be,” said Becha. “The law is there but the regulation and policy are not.” The Ministry of Energy and the companies know that the community does not understand the Petroleum Act and therefore that compensation is not given, he explained.

The most pressing need for many Turkana citizens is to find sources of water and grazing routes for their herds of goats, cows and camels, such as it this European Commission-funded borehole project built by Oxfam in Turkan. Citizens worry that fenced drilling operations will change their routes or use up the scarce water sources.

The most pressing need for many Turkana citizens is to find sources of water and grazing routes for their herds of goats, cows and camels, such as it this European Commission-funded borehole project built by Oxfam in Turkan. Citizens worry that fenced drilling operations will change their routes or use up the scarce water sources.

The oil company is also free to hire its own evaluator from the NEMA approved list without going through a bidding process. These evaluators are paid directly by the oil companies and may be more likely to dilute damaging findings. By reporting that the impact is not significant, which is true of several reports, instead of reporting that drilling would affect specific numbers of pastoralists, fisherman, and agricultural workers, the company can avoid the compensation clause. As many authors and reviewers of recent EIAs are professors with the University of Nairobi, there is a motivation for them to stay quiet about a flawed process.

To earn a spot on the NEMA approved list, candidates take a one month course how safe is viagra with the agency. Kerich explained that every lead consultant must have at least a Master’s degree. The main concern for him is that after the consultant produces the EIA studies, the report is owned by NEMA, which is tasked with monitoring. As a result, mistakes or misrepresentations in the study are reported to NEMA, which didn’t author and cannot modify the assessment.

Lack of community engagement Civil society and government agree that communication and community engagement around environmental protection are lacking. Several organizations in Turkana including Practical Action, the Agency for Pastoralist Development and Oxfam have a long history of educating communities about water management with projects funded by the European Commission, but simply do not have the funds to include critical issues related to oil extraction.

Ang’elei and other members of civil society groups pointed out that access to the document is just the first step for engaging a largely illiterate community in environmental protection. “Reading the over 700-page document even to experts is cumbersome, so how about the locals?!” Ang’elei suggested that what is needed is not only translation into Turkana, but also holding public forums and radio shows to explore all the related issues – both positive and negative – and to also develop priorities.

The required community input for the Environmental Impact Assessments generally does not include representatives from these organizations as contributors. The various local leaders, including chiefs and religious representatives, have little background in natural resource management. The opportunities raised by those who did participate relate to corporate social responsibility including employment opportunities, drilling of boreholes and building of schools while the main fear was disruption of the traditional pastoral lifestyle.

The corporate social responsibility policy and statement in the EIA do not address those proposals or external questions about plans to prevent environmental disasters such as water contamination and over-usage by oil companies. Recommendations that do not appear in the EIA include environmental licensing fees to improve the capacity of the local regulatory bodies.

According to Paul Ekutan of Practical Action, the focus of community support efforts should echo the motto of Vulnerable to Resilient to determine how the local population can be prepared to address issues like land use, oil explorations and demarcating pastoral lands over the long-term.

Strategies to protect the community and environment Christopher Eporon Ekuwom, the Turkana County Executive for Pastoral Economies and Fisheries, is taking matters into his own hands. He is carrying out a survey to demarcate pastoral grazing lands, which he will publish in the Kenya Gazette to formalize pasture lands and defend land rights against further encroachments. Looking forward, some experts are calling for an environmental fund. Edgar Odari of Eco-News Africa argues that “the oil fund meant for the oil and gas sector is a good proposal towards reclaiming the land. However the challenge is that it presupposes that you will get commercially viable quantities.So if you don’t, what happens? How do you reclaim that land and restore the lives of the locals?” An environmental fund would go towards rehabilitation when the oil reserve is exhausted and the site is either abandoned or decommissioned. The draft mining bill has a provision for an environmental fund but has not been passed. The World Bank and the Government of Kenya have not agreed to a plan to conduct the social and environmental impact evaluation. Meanwhile, more than 20 people have been killed in ethnic clashes between the Turkana and neighboring Pokot communities where an information vacuum about the risks and opportunities presented by oil finds in Turkana have exacerbated cattle raiding and ethnic rivalries.

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Todos lo saben. La comunidad de Turkana, la sociedad civil y el gobierno local está conscientes de que los recientes descubrimientos de petróleo en Kenia y las exploraciones previas a la perforación están teniendo importante consecuencias sobre el frágil entorno de la zona, donde la mayoría de la población recibe ayuda humanitaria para poder sobrevivir a las sequías. Pero nunca se refieren a documentos o estudios que soporten sus preocupaciones.

Y quienes han visto las declaraciones de impacto ambiental de la perforación, aseguran que hay poco con lo que estar tranquilos. El Departamento para el Desarrollo Internacional del Reino Unido recuerda, en un estudio de junio de junio de 2013, que el Gobierno tiene que llevar a cabo un análisis estratégico para proteger los cialis coupon walgreens acuíferos, la agricultura y la vida pastoral. Es una de las peticiones que se incluía en el crédito de 50 millones de dólares avanzado por el Banco Mundial. Pero la institución se ha encontrado con un Gobierno de Kenia que no está preparado para proteger Turkana, la región más pobre de Kenia, de la expansión del creciente mercado del petróleo.Water supplied by the Kabulokor irrigation project in Loima Constituency from a nearby river is not enough to meet expansion needs. Turkana leaders wonder where funds will come from to ensure that water is not diverted from community use or contaminated by oil production.El dinero del Banco Mundial ha ido a la Autoridad Nacional de gestión del Medio Ambiente. Se trata de un departamento gubernamental que con ese fondo tendrá que dedicar más recursos y más entrenamiento a la supervisión medioambiental. Lex Huurdeman, especialsita en petróleo, gas y minería del Banco Mundo, asegura que ese dinero ha dado lugar a nuevas políticas de salvaguardia de los aspectos medioambientales.

Pero, antes de que Gobierno y Banco Mundial se haya podido poner de acuerdo sobre el análisis, que será llevado a cabo por expertos externos, las perforaciones ya han empezado. La invisible declaración de impacto ambiental El Ministerio de Energía ha repartido Kenia en diferentes bloques para su asignación a los contratistas de las empresas de petróleo. A pesar de las decenas de llamadas y peticiones que tres periodistas han dirigido a las oficinas de la Autoridad Nacional de gestión del Medio Ambiente, solo se ha podido conseguir la declaración de Impacto ambiental para un bloque: el 13T, en el sur de Turkana. Una Declaración adicional, que detalla aspectos de las excavaciones y de las posibles consecuencias sísmicas, ha sido obtenido a través de ONGs implicadas en la zona.

Pero es la Autoridad Nacional de gestión del Medio Ambiente (NEMA, por sus siglas en inglés) quien custodia la documentación completa.La Declaración de Impacto Ambiental del Bloque 13T, detalla: “La comunidad local dijo que no había visto ninguna declaración canadian pharmacy celebrex previa, como la del Bloque 10BB, y que la información al respecto todavía no les ha llegado”.

En la Declaración hay ecos de las preocupaciones de la comunidad y de las ONGs, además que de los ejecutivos del condado de Energía y Asuntos Pastorales: se han erigido vallas sin el consentimiento de los pastores de la zona; las fuentes de agua pueden estar contaminadas y el favoritismo y nepotismo están distorsionando las oportunidades de empleo para los locales. Varias ONG que habían visto los documentos aseguran que era de escasa utilidad pública. Ikal Ang’elei, Director de Amigos del Lago Turkana, argumenta que existen varios agujeros legalesque requerirían la publicación de los documentos ambientales para permitir una mejor participación pública antes de empezar los trabajos de perforación.

“Por el momento, por ejemplo, nos dieron la Declaración para los sitios de perforación de Tullow solo una vez que el trabajo ya había comenzado. Habríamos tenido que hablarlo y contar con la participación de la comunidad antes de que comenzara la exploración. ” Eliud Emeri , Director Ejecutivo de África Development Trust , una institución ambiental que aboga por el uso sostenible de los recursos naturales en el condado de Turkana , ha leído las declaraciones anteriores. Según él, no eran más que una formalidad: su investigación encontró que gran parte del contenido fue un corta-pega de declaraciones hechas en Ghana y Nigeria, donde sólo se cambiaron los nombres y las fotos.

Por ejemplo, la evaluación del impacto ambiental para el sitio Ngamia era una copia de la del Delta del Níger EIA. Después de las quejas, Emeri asegura que la calidad de las declaraciones ha mejorado. El gabinete local para la Energía y el Medio Ambiente viagra vs cialis reviews solo admiten en una entrevista que nunca han visto os Estudios de Impacto Ambiental. Por ello, están preocupados por los pastores desplazados y los posibles daños al medio ambiente .

Tullow Oil, por su parte, debería presentar informes anuales de cumplimiento ambiental, pero sólo después de que se haya iniciado la extracción de petróleo, que no será hasta dentro de varios años. La oficina nacional del NEMA declinó varias solicitudes para una entrevista sobre su papel en este proceso. Hadley Becha, del Grupo de Trabajo de Petróleo y Gas, ha seguido de cerca el proceso: “Tenemos que ser el Watchdog el sector privado para asegurarnos de que están cumpliendo con las normas internacionales y medir el grado de apertura del sector.” El heco de que las declaraciones no se hagan públicas en la web de la NEMA, donde se esperaba que fueran publicadas, “aumenta las expectativas de la comunidad : si están ocultando , debe haber una razón, piensan, mientras podría no ser el caso”, concluye.

Las empresas implicadas, por su parte, niegan los desplazamientos de los pastores y aseguran que se moverían para el medio ambiente , para evitar un posterior pago de una compensación a las comunidades locales. Para los nómadas de Turkana , el desplazamiento incluye tener que irse de las tierras de pastoreo, la interrupción de pastoreo y de sus rutas de migraciones, además de los cambios en el acceso al agua . Las lagunas de la política ambiental y social “En virtud de la actual Ley de Petróleo, especialmente durante los estudios de exploración sísmica , existe es un artículo que habla de indemnización, pero no tenemos ninguna regulación que detalle cómo debe ser la compensación”, asegura Becha, del Grupo de Trabajo de Petróleo y Gas. “La ley está ahí, pero la regulación y la política no”.

El Ministerio de Energía y las empresas saben que la comunidad no entiende la Ley del Petróleo “y por esto no se están dando indemnizaciones”, añade. La petrolera también puede contar con los evaluadores de la lista que NEMA elabora. Se trata de evaluadores a sueldo, pagados directamente por las compañías petroleras, que pueden ser más propensos a diluir los resultados perjudiciales. Si llegan a informar de que que el impacto no es significativo en lugar de informar de que la perforación podría afectar los números pastores, pescadores y trabajadores agrícolas, la empresa puede evitar la cláusula de indemnización. Falta de implicación de la comunidad La sociedad civil y el Gobierno están de acuerdo en que no hay comunicación ni participación de la comunidad sobre la protección del medio ambiente.

Varias organizaciones en Turkana, como Practical Action, la Agencia para el Desarrollo Pastoril y Oxfam, tienen un largo historial de educación de las comunidades sobre la gestión del agua con los proyectos financiados por la Comisión Europea. Simplemente, no tienen los fondos para incluir temas críticos relacionados con la extracción de petróleo . Ang’elei y otros miembros de los grupos de la sociedad civil aseguran que el acceso al documento es sólo el primer paso para involucrar a una comunidad en gran parte analfabeta en la protección del medio ambiente. ” Leer este documento, de más de 700 páginas, es complicado incluso para los expertos, así que imagínate para la gente del lugar”.

Los varios líderes locales, por su parte, son sobre todo jefes de las comunidades y representantes religiosos: tienen poca experiencia en el manejo de recursos naturales. Su principal temor es la interrupción de la vida pastoral tradicional. Las oportunidades planteadas por aquellos que sí participaron en la redacción del documento, tienen que ver, a cambio, con la responsabilidad social corporativa, oportunidades de empleo, la perforación de pozos y construcción de escuelas.

Esas cuestiones, sin embargo, no tocan cuestiones como los planes para prevenir desastres ambientales o la contaminación del agua y el exceso de su uso que pueden hacer las compañías petroleras. Ninguna de las recomendaciones que aparecen en la Declaración de Impacto Ambiental, EIA incluye aspectos ambientales para mejorar la capacidad de los organismos reguladores locales.

Según Paul Ekutan, de Practical Action, el foco de los esfuerzos de apoyo a la comunidad debería centrarse en determinar cómo esa población puede estar preparada para hacer frente a cuestiones como el uso del suelo, las exploraciones de petróleo y la nueva demarcación de las tierras de pastoreo. Despertar de luchas étnicas Christopher Eporon Ekuwom , el Ejecutivo del Condado de Turkana para las Economías Pastorales , está intentando tomar el control del asunto.

Está llevando a cabo un estudio para delimitar las tierras de pastoreo, que se publicará en la Gaceta Oficial de Kenya para formalizar defender los derechos territoriales contra nuevas llegadas. De cara al futuro, algunos expertos están pidiendo un fondo ambiental dedicado a esta zona. Edgar Odari, de Eco- Noticias África, sostiene que “el fondo del petróleo sería una buena excusa para comenzar la recuperación de la tierra”.

Un fondo ambiental, argumenta, se destinaría a la rehabilitación cuando la reserva de petróleo se agote y el sitio sea abandonado. El actual Proyecto de ley sobre la minería tiene una disposición para un fondo ambiental , pero todavía no ha sido aprobada. Mientras tanto, más de 20 personas han muerto en los enfrentamientos étnicos entre los Turkana y Pokot. Entre estas dos comunidades confinantes, el vacío de información sobre los riesgos y oportunidades que presenta el petróleo de Turkana ha dado paso a saqueos de ganado y despertado las rivalidades étnicas .