Catholic Bishops concerned over LNG impacts

By Oseah Philemon - Post Courier

The Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG has expressed concern about the possible environmental impact and social problems emanating from the LNG project.

In a detailed statement issued from Lae, the bishops said not much was known by the general public about the environmental impact of the project on the lives of the people.

The bishops stated that the LNG infrastructure included several large processing facilities and more than 700 km of pipeline from the Highlands to the coast and then along the seabed to a site near Port Moresby.

"Environmental issues would seem to be potentially great in a project of such magnitude. Most likely, these will be portrayed as minimal by the developer ExxonMobil and co-developers; Oil Search Ltd, a Papua New Guinea company; Santos; Nippon Oil and the PNG Government".

The PNG Government's holdings are in Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC); and the Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC), which is the trustee and manager for landowner interest; and Eda Oil. So the people of PNG are a significant stakeholders in the project.

But the bishops ask; "Will we be as concerned  about the environmental impact of the project as we should?

"Environment groups would be more critical of the project. Our government and landowners need to be vigilant too. However, both have a substantial economic interest in the project and a poor record regarding environment protection in the past.

"So, environmental advocates, the media, interested non-government organisations and churches must be on alert, ready to speak out on behalf of the people of PNG and God's creation", the bishops stated.



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