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Lobby groups in move to stop TotalEnergies drilling

Publish date: 01 April 2024
Issue Number: 1070
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Litigation

Environmental lobby groups The Green Connection and Natural Justice have jointly initiated a legal challenge against the decision to grant TotalEnergies environmental authorisation for exploratory drilling for offshore gas and oil in block five/six/seven, located off the coast between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas. A Business Day report says the groups announced yesterday they had filed a review application with the Western Cape High Court seeking to have the initial decision to grant environmental authorisation by the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy (DMRE) overturned. They also want the court to review and set aside Environment Minister Barbara Creecy’s decision to reject appeals brought against the DMRE’s decision. TotalEnergies holds rights to the exploration block, along with Shell and PetroSA. The Green Connection’s strategic lead, Liziwe McDaid, emphasised the importance of this legal action in safeguarding the interests of coastal communities and the ocean they rely on. ‘We do not believe that the DMRE’s decision to grant environmental authorisation and Creecy’s subsequent dismissal of appeals were in the public interest, for both current and future generations. This is why this legal action is so critical because it challenges decisions that could have far-reaching impacts on the wellbeing of coastal communities and the ocean that they depend on,’ said McDaid. The legal grounds for the review highlight the government’s failure to assess the socio-economic impact of a potential oil spill on local fisheries and disregard for climate change effects linked to oil or gas usage. The Green Connection and Natural Justice also expressed concern over the lack of proper evaluation of oil spill blowout contingency plans.

Full Business Day report

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