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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi must explain why approval is given to the RM 24 billion 310 km crude oil pipeline project traversing Kedah, Perak and Kelantan when the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study has not even been submitted to the Department of Environment (DOE)?
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday) : Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi must explain why approval is given to the RM 24 billion 310 km crude oil pipeline project traversing Kedah, Perak and Kelantan while the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study has not even been submitted to the Department of Environment?
This shocking revelation was made by the Director of Environment Halimah Hassan dated 13 June 2007 in a letter replying DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng that the EIA report for the trans-peninsular oil pipeline project has not been submitted to the Department of Environment. In the letter, she said that the EIA report will be publicised in local papers and public review sought after the EIA report has been submitted to the DOE by the developers.
(Berdasarkan rekod Jabatan ini, adalah dimaklumkan bahawa setakat ini Laporan Penilaian Impak Kepada Alam Sekitar bagi cadangan pembinaan saluran paip minyak dari Yan, Kedah ke Bachok, Kelantan belum dikemukakan kepada Jabatan ini. Laporan EIA berkenaan akan diumumkan melalui akhbar-akhbar tempatan bagi mendapatkan ulasan awam apabila laporan EIA bagi cadangan projek tersebut telah siap dijalankan dan dikemukakan kepada Jabatan ini oleh pihak pemaju projek kelak)
This pipeline project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Investments, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in December 2006, and reaffirmed on January 12 2007. The Prime Minister confirmed the approval on May 7 2007. Obviously, the construction project which costs RM2.39 billion has not fulfilled the requirements of Environmental Quality Act 1974. How can the approval be given even before the EIA is submitted for approval by the Department of Environment (DOE)?
To avoid any violations of existing environmental laws, the crude oil pipeline project should be allowed only after the required EIA study has been approved. Any project involving construction of pipelines more than 50 kilometers in length and affecting forest reserves is deemed to be a “prescribed activity” requiring an EIA under Section 34A(2) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 before approval can be given. Any failure to obtain approval of the EIA would make the project still-born by reason of illegality due to non-compliance of statutory requirements.
Has the government taken initiative to set up a Environmental Risk Management system to prevent, reduce or control the likely accidents? What are the steps taken to ensure that the oil pipelines leakages and explosive accidents seen in other countries will not be repeated in Malaysia?
These questions can
only be addressed with a full EIA which has not been approved but yet the
details of this RM 24 billion project has been announced with great fanfare.
Consistent with DAP’s position of giving both economic development and
environmental protection equal importance, DAP will endorse the project as
long as the EIA addresses and deals with the views and concerns of
environmental groups and NGOs.