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  • Margo Tamzone Adonis

BLAST OFF SHELL


Sesmic blasting is proposed by Shell along the Wild Coast. The intention is to ‘hunt’ for oil and gas deposits. The hunting will be from Morgan Bay to Port St Johns. It is anticioated that this will continue for five months.


About the blasting:

What I do know is that the blasting will be undertaken 24/7. Can you imagine the health impacts and loss of life that would be fortified times 1000. Never mind climate change which we are also trying to fight – my goodness is it even real…? YES climate change is real.

The impacts of blasting are as real as the visible and not so visible impacts of climate change. We must stop this nonsense.

Now, as no specialist whatsoever, the impacts would include:

· Destruction of habitat

· Loss of marine life

· Degradation of ecosystems

· Threats to marine protected areas

When it comes to seismic surveys / blasting, there is no positive impact. It is all negative. No good comes from this.


Setting the scene:

Imagine you are a marine animal – I shall be a whale. Note: I am an acoustic animal.

Swimming – playing – swimming – playing -– BOOM – communicate to mom I am scared – BOOM – now I am stressing – BOOM – calling for mom – BOOM – its dark I cannot see – BOOM – Cannot hear or see mom – BOOM - I rely on sounds – BOOM – but mom and the family – BOOM – cant hear me with - BOOM – all this blasting – BOOM – I try swimming away – BOOM – I am even more stressed – BOOM – calling for mom – BOOM - this is LOUD – BOOM - I am alone – BOOM – cannot find food – BOOM – busy starving now because all the fish are gone or dead – BOOM – I have no energy – BOOM – my diving times are all a mess and time spent at the surface is not right anymore – BOOM – I cannot hear anymore – BOOM -predators are out to for food too – BOOM – they are also affected by all this – BOOM - I am alone so I am an ideal catch – BOOM – oh no – BOOM.


And that is how it will be.


They would be blasted at.


The legal stuff:

Disclaimer: I have not read any environmental or specialists reports for this seismic survey and so I do not know all the ‘facts’ available.


Before we get on bandwagons, please note, the approvals were not issued from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment. Rather by the Department of Mineral Resource and Energy (DMRA). Therefore, we cannot petition and lobby for Minister Creecy to rescind/repeal/withdraw any approvals. Provision is made in the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002, that when it comes to minerals (oil, gas, etc), then the Department of DMRE is the competent authority. The one who issues the approvals.


Environmental authorisation was granted in 2014. In 2020 an environmental compliance audit was undertaken. This audit confirmed that the mitigation measures in the environmental management plan was still sufficient for the project. The audit was made available to interested and affected parties for a 30-day comment period. Approval was obtained in 2020.


Based on experience, the Department of DMRE is not equipped, nor has the capacity to be reviewing impact assessments, any due diligence investigations, and critically analysing the information. Let me not get started on Oceans and Coast where those officials are least capable of assessing marine impacts all together.


I am inclined to share that any impact studies undertaken, may have some flaws – in term of specialist terms of reference, impact assessment methodology. If an environmental assessment process was followed, or even just due diligence, then this should not have been approved/allowed.


Let me also state that the mitigation measures for such activities are never truly sound. Because, well, if you are not a whale, then how on earth could you possibly know and understand the TRUE impacts? But also, how is any loss of marine life, or habitat destruction even okay – especially with marine protected areas within some tens of kilometres from the blasting activity. The blasting shockwaves are felt for several more than tens of kilomtres. So then, why dear Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment do we have these marine protected areas?


If we want the approval to be rescinded, only a court of law will be able to do so. I don’t know this legal side, but surely, we have capable Environmental Lawyers who could be assisting. But we must also remember that these lawyers are not the ‘tree-huggers’. They just know environmental law and processes well. They not out to daily protect and love the environment. They defend what they are paid to defend.


When we are supposed to be moving to renewable energy, this is a regression.


What do we do:

Any lawyers keen on a pro bono case? Find them and get going!


DO NOT support Shell and all the other shops within Shell – like the coffee peoples. Because if they are still within the Shell development, they are for Shell. And we are not.



Let this be a lesson! When we see public participation processes – please register as an Interested and Affected Party. When you submit comments – bring the facts. Show the flaws. Don’t just state “the marine specialist report is flawed”. You need to show how. It seems a lot of work – but with protocols and regulations which specialist must abide by – this could be your key to their report flaw. Also, if you register as an Interested and Affected Party and they never notify you of processes – it’s a procedural flaw. So, if you appeal – you will win the appeal most likely. But also, the procedural mishap, and the specialist report not being compliant with requirements in a court of law may set aside the approval.


Sign petitions and donate as this will help with legal bills etc.


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