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Minister says Ghana is environmentally prepared for oil and gas drilling

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Ghanaians living within the oil catchments area can report any environmental hazards caused by the oil and gas drilling to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regional offices.

The Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, is therefore, training and equipping staff of the EPA to enable them to handle any such complaints as Ghana gets ready to drill oil in commercial quantities in November 2010.

Ms Sherry Ayittey, the sector Minister, announced these at press briefing on Ghana’s environmental preparedness for oil drilling in commercial qualities.

“…the oil and gas master plan developed by the EPA seeks to integrate environmental management, health and safety and community issues into petroleum sector operations,” the Minister said.

Ms Ayittey said the Ministry was already collecting baseline information on offshore environment through the assistance of the Ministry of Environment of Norway, and had also developed an oil and gas assessment guideline as a step towards regulating the environmental aspect of the petroleum sector.

She said to respond to oil spill emergencies, the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan was also being strengthened but added that the national policy was “No Spill.”

Ms Ayittey said “We shall do the necessary environmental due diligence enshrined in our environmental statute books, we shall caution when we have to and punish when we must in cases of environmental breaches by stakeholders”.

She requested the active participation and cooperation of all Ghanaians in the country’s quest to leapfrog the dirty part of the oil and gas drilling.

Mr Joseph Allotey, Executive Director of the EPA, said clear responsibilities had been assigned to various agencies including the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, the Ghana Maritime Authority, the Security Services and other allied state institutions.

He announced that the EPA was also in the process of establishing the necessary telephone contacts for the public to call in case of any environmental emergencies.

Source: GNA

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