Ogle airport investors say they are complying with environment act

Stabroek News
November 9, 2002

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The investors seeking to develop the Ogle Aerodrome into a municipal airport say they are in full compliance with the terms of the Environmental Protection Act.

The Ogle Airport Inc (OGI) was responding to a news item in Thursday's issue of the Stabroek News where a group of residents had criticised the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted by the investors and had also complained that there was inadequate notification by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) of the recent public hearing on the EIA.

The Ogle Residents Group (ORG) says the EIA makes promises in support of the project instead of providing an unbiased, scientific evaluation.

OAI, in a release issued through Public Communications Consultants Limited (PCCL), said that it has seen no proof neither is it aware of any evidence to suggest that this group has any representative status on behalf of the Ogle/Industry/Plaisance communities. OAI said that to the best of its knowledge, this group speaks on behalf of a small number of private residents.

The release stated that since 1998 there have been three comprehensive studies on the possible environmental impact of the developing of Ogle Airport into a Municipal Airport to accommodate regional and commercial air traffic. OAI noted that two Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded studies were carried out by companies specialising in environmental assessments.

Further, in accordance with the EPA Act of 1996, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was submitted on July 16, 2002 to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This EIA was prepared by a team of professionals approved by the EPA and included both the Environmental Impact Assessment Statement (EIAS) and an Environmental Management Plan (EMP). This is in compliance with the Terms of Reference (TOR) approved by the EPA, OAI said. The release added that the developers held public consultations in the communities on May 22 at the Plaisance Community High School and at the Ogle Community Centre. They have also used public address systems in the communities to encourage residents to attend these meetings and said they have received overwhelming support from the majority of residents attending these meetings.

OAI emphasised in the release that the requirement of the EIA is a process clearly defined under the Environmental Protection Act involving the presentation by the developers of an EIA, subsequent reviews and the EPA's analytical assessment of the EIA for referral to the Environmental Assessment Board (EAB) and the conduct of public hearings which the board may consider necessary to ascertain whether the EIA should be accepted, amended or rejected or whether an environmental permit should be issued by the agency.

OAI said it considers it unfortunate that any group of persons which has provided no evidence that it is representative of any majority of persons in the surrounding communities should believe that it is privileged to any special notice of the EPA process. OAI has and will continue to comply with and strictly adhere to the statutory requirements of the EPA, the release stated.

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