The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said it will advise government against onshore oil exploration if its Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) proves that the cost to livelihood would be more than the commercial gains.
The EPA is currently conducting an SEA at the Voltaian Basin; an area suspected to have oil deposits. The move is aimed at evaluating the impact oil exploration will have on the natural resources, the environment and economic activities in the area.
The Director for SEA at the EPA, Christine Asare told Starr Business at a pre-stakeholder workshop on SEA that the process is in its early stages and will not hesitate to caution government if the cost benefit analysis does not favor the country
“…We are now are at the beginning if that is what comes up we will inform government about it.”
According to her, sustainability of the exploration will be critical in its work.
“The thing is to carry it out sustainably and that is what we are saying. We are going to look at all the four factors, if we make sure that the socio cultural, the institutional the economic and the natural resources are all at the same level, then we can say it is sustainable because we are going to look at how are we going to employ it to ensure that it is sustainable.”
She added that the country has found itself in a time where there is an opportunity to have an environmental assessment. The move will help in preempting any adverse effect oil exploration will have on livelihoods and resources.
“I am sure you are thinking about other countries where they have had problems with oil exploration. At that time there was nothing like environmental impact assessment, there was nothing like sustainability we have that advantage and we want to use this to make sure that we are informing government that it can go on sustainably.”