In view of all the news of killings, murders, refugee crises, and Wars that flows from the news each day it’s quite easy to forget there are other crises in the making across the globe that will affect us. One especially large one that may well impact the globe on a massive scale is EACOP (EAST AFRICAN CRUDE OIL PIPELINE). it sounds almost innocuous doesn’t it?
The pipeline is intended to cross almost 900 mils of Sub Saharan Africa and will be the longest pipeline in the world to carry heated crude oil from the shores of Lake Albert on the border with Uganda and DRC to the port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean. There will be disastrous consequences for communities and for wildlife and quite possibly for the planet. The pipeline will pass through multiple diverse habitats with endangered species (including Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake), jeopardise community water sources, cause air pollution, and its construction will negatively affect up to 120,000 people.
Any Incidence of a leak could make other disasters fade into insignificance in that vital water supplies will be poisoned and endangered species will be written off.
The Governments of Uganda and Tanzania have signed up to this with oil and gas company Total and with China National Offshore Oil Corporation, in a huge $20bn project. Currently they don’t quite have enough funding to go ahead. Many large banks are committed to not funding the project. The result of that was the unlawful arrests of many journalists and activists by the Ugandan Government. The current tack is to ask Insurers to stop their support of the project as with Insurance more banks /Investors may decide to go ahead and invest .Please if you have the opportunity, ask the big insurers to pull the plug or to publicly declare they will not offer either investment nor Insurance. AEGIS UK, ASPEN,BERMUDA.CHUBB , US and LIBERTY MUTUAL. US LLOYDS OF London are the most likely ones to go forward and offer the Insurance Needed.
The pipeline will disturb nearly 2,000 square kilometres of protected wildlife habitats, including Murchison Falls National Park, the Taala Forest Reserve, the Bugoma Forest, Wembere Steppe, and the Biharamulo Game Reserve – all of which are critical to the preservation of vulnerable species, such as the Eastern Chimpanzee and the African Elephant – the largest animal walking the earth, which pays a crucial role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.
The pipeline will also cross more than 200 rivers – just one oil spill or leak could have catastrophic consequences on vital freshwater sources and the millions of people who depend on them. The likelihood of this is high as the pipeline will traverse an active seismic zone which regularly experiences earthquakes, on top of existing risks stemming from erosion, accidental damage or poor maintenance. Lake Albert is thought to be at particular risk, with the Tilenga oil field on its northeastern shore and the Kingfisher project on the eastern shore, which will put the Bugoma forest at risk by pipelines, roads, an airport, and migrant workers who will need to clear land to grow crops. South of the Lake, EACOP will cross Taala Forest Reserve, which currently provides 30% of Uganda’s fish catch. A third of the pipeline’s journey will run along Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake – an essential watershed for more than 40 million people and a source of the Nile river.
The pipeline is a threat to local communities who are heavily dependent on natural resources. It will displace thousands of families, and over 100,000 people across Uganda and Tanzania will lose land they rely on for farming. Many will be forcibly removed from their homes under compulsory purchase orders: A report by Oxfam found that Total’s human rights conduct is not being met in practice, with the land acquisition process being marked with a lack in transparency, inadequate valuation of land and delayed compensation. Many of people affected have been denied meaningful participation or adequate information on the environmental and social risks of the project – with representatives disproportionately stressing its benefits. Communities have expressed concern about oil spills, water shortages and deforestation affecting their right to a clean and healthy environment.
In Uganda, 7,000 people from 13 villages have already lost land to make way for infrastructure, including an airport to fly in equipment for the oil fields. Many of the displaced now live in concrete houses in so-called “resettlement villages” and complain about cramped conditions and long walks to their fields. Many are still fighting on the land, and their opposition is supported by a number of environmental groups to resist the increasingly authoritarian government.
Another report by FIDH titled “New Oil, Same Business” found that farmers faced intimidation and manipulation, forcing them to give up their land for meagre cash compensation. In order to suppress dissent, the government of Uganda has been heavy-handed with those speaking out publicly against the project. In October, six workers from the non-profit policy research group AFIEGO, who have been advocating against EACOP, were arrested under false accusations that they did not hold proper registration documents – the workers were held in jail for three days despite a lack of evidence against them. Last year, Global Witness warned about the criminalisation of environmental defenders and their communities, reporting that governments and companies exploit the legal system to silence activists who threaten their interests. Organisations are being accused of money laundering or funding terrorism after speaking out against fossil fuel developments, and subsequently have to suspend their activities.
Much information from Jessica Kleczka
more available on https://www.stopcambo.org.uk/updates/stopeacop#:~:text=The%20East%20African%20Crude%20Oil%20Pipeline%20%28EACOP%29%20project,the%20port%20of%20Tanga%20on%20the%20Indian%20Ocean.
Save the World, stop the Pipeline going ahead.
Hugs to you all