Reconstitution of panel to study hydrocarbon projects welcomed

The Anti-Methane Movement has welcomed the reconstitution of the high-level expert committee on exploration of hydrocarbon projects and the revision of its terms of reference so that the study can be taken up in areas other than the protected agricultural zone.

Terming it “timely action”, the Anti Methane Movement Chief Coordinator T. Jayaraman, in a statement, observed that although the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act 2020 came into force on February 21, the entire Cauvery delta was not brought under its ambit. Besides, the Act did not prevent ongoing projects.

The government has been taking a series of measures to protect agriculture and the soil wealth of the State. Now as the next step, the terms of reference of the committee has been extended to cover hydrocarbon projects in areas other than the Cauvery delta region and to assess the impact of drilling technologies such as hydro fracturing on groundwater and the environment.

The committee will assess the impact of use of chemicals and the quantity of groundwater required to be drawn out for carrying out exploration of coal bed methane, shale gas, petroleum and natural gas and whether such large-scale pumping of groundwater will lead to its depletion, he pointed out.

Besides, the committee will also study if such projects will lead to any subsidence of land and de-stabilise the tectonic plates below the area of exploration and their impact on the livelihood of people and food security of the State.

“We hope that the committee report will play an important role in protecting the soil wealth of the State, its people and their livelihood. A report based on scientific reasoning is a necessity to stop any project. Hence, the committee report will play a crucial role in future in protecting Tamil Nadu’s soil and water resources from devastating oil and gas projects,” Mr. Jayaraman said. The committee report will also help overcome the shortcomings in the Tamil Nadu Protected Agricultural Zone Development Act 2020, he added.

Mr. Jayaraman also wondered why there should be any hesitation to give up oil and natural gas exploration here as the world was moving towards alternative energy sources. “Besides, why our resources should be destroyed when imported and domestically produced oil are sold at the same price?” he wondered.

Source: Read Full Article