Critical analyses of public participation as part of the environmental impact assessment process for the installation of gas pipeline
Petrick, Werner Arthur
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The protection of the environment is becoming one of the most pressing concerns of mankind in the 21St century. South African Legislation requires an environmental impact assessment (EM) to obtain authorisation for executing certain activities. Constructing and operating a gas pipeline requires an authorisation from the relevant authorities under the EIA legislation. One of the objectives of an EIA is to ensure public involvement. South African legislation stipulates guidelines for conducting public participation but leaves voids for interpretation on how to most effectively apply these guidelines. This study investigates how an appropriate and cost and time effective public participation process for proposed new Sasol Gas pipelines should be conducted. The method of investigation is to first address four sub-questions relating to EIAs in South Africa; the meaning of public participation; public participation as a component of EIAs; and specific problems and lessons learned in some case studies. These sub-questions were discussed and answered, respectively in Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this report. In Chapter 6 the student concluded and gave recommendations to conduct an effective public participation process for Sasol Gas pipeline projects. The research determined that the public participation process recommended for these projects cannot be limited to one prescriptive process as each project differs from the next. Certain Sasol Gas pipeline projects need a very extensive public participation process, whereas, a "limited" public participation process can be applied on certain Sasol Gas pipeline projects and still be effective. The public participation process to be followed for both types above, is recommended in detail in Chapter 6 under the planning, participation and exit phases. These two proposed processes are internally also flexible, as discussed in this report.