AfriForum and Treasure the Karoo Action Group are in the process of compiling comments on the new draft regulations published by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) for the exploration and production of onshore unconventional gas development. The draft regulations were published in the Government Gazette of 7 May 2021.
Lambert De Klerk, AfriForum’s Manager for Environmental Affairs, says that AfriForum and its long-standing environmental partner Treasure Karoo Action Group will continue their opposition to shale gas extraction in the Karoo. “We wrote to the Department to request an extension of the 30-day period for public comment on those regulations, given the complexity of the report that is being compiled by our team of experts,” De Klerk says.
Jonathan Deal, CEO of TKAG, says that TKAG has a track record of success in dealing with the government on the regulations. The most recent is an undivided ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeals against the Department of Mineral Resources. “In our view, to publish a set of technical regulations with a 30-day window for public comment is short-sighted. To do this in the midst of a state of disaster, with more lockdown regulations looming, displays at best a careless arrogance regarding proper public consultation.”
Deal adds that these developments should be a clarion call for all people who live, raise children, grow crops and operate farms and tourism-focused businesses near possible shale gas mining sites.
Considering the history in America and the subsequent banning of fracking in New York State and the Delaware River Basin in the United States, there is good reason why it should also be banned in South Africa.
De Klerk encouraged concerned citizens to stand up for their right to a clean and healthy environment by joining AfriForum and supporting the civil rights organisation and TKAG.