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In reaction to the news that the East African nations of Uganda and Tanzania along with oil firms Total and CNOOC have signed agreements to kickstart a Sh371,7 billion equivalent to $3.5 billion worth crude oil pipeline that will span 1,440 kilometres long, Greenpeace Africa, an independent environmental campaign organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental injustices says such a venture will not happen under its watch.
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Uganda, Tanzania and oil firms Total and CNOOC had on Sunday 11th signed agreement that will see to the construction of a $3.5 billion crude oil pipeline that will help ship crude from the fields of Western Uganda to international markets.
The signatories agreed “to start investment in the construction of infrastructure that will produce and transport crude oil.”
But Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Political Advisor, Fredrick Njehu says this is just an attempt by the oil companies to line their pockets without regard to keeping the environment clean.
“Oil companies are desperately clinging onto a dying industry. They clearly have vested interests in keeping their pockets lined. Communities in East Africa are not interested in dirty, outdated, fossil-fuels. They are rising up and championing a future that is powered by renewable sources of energy,” he says.
According to him, the crude oil pipeline will threaten water resources, biodiversity and Uganda’s oldest and largest nature reserve, the Muchison Falls National Park which would be open to large-scale oil extraction at a time when the world was looking at reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. The project will also have severe impact on local communities rights.
“No matter how you look at it, oil is highly risky and has significant potential to damage the environment and put surrounding communities in peril. East Africa has some of the best renewable energy resources in the world, and these resources should be maximised as governments shift away from fossil fuels in a people-centred just transition.
“Contrary to what proponents argue, the EACOP will not “unlock East Africa’s potential”. East Africa needs energy security based on widespread rollout of renewables and the millions of clean jobs that come with it, and it needs to protect its natural heritage. African governments must prioritise innovative and just solutions for energy and not fall into neo-colonial projects that have vast environmental and climate risks,” he concluded.