As there has been a change in the development concept, both in the design and the statement of need, our view is that a new EIA must be required.
In fact, one of the 71 conditions imposed on the State in respect of the EIA which approved on 11 April is that, if there is any change in the development concept, a fresh approval from the Director-General of the DOE is required. Hence, the DOE approval must be sought again.
It is our view since the project involves only one island now, there must be a new EIA done.
For example, there needs to be a new hydraulic and hydrology impact assessment which covers current flow, water level, wave conditions, sedimentation and erosion etc. This will change from having one island instead of three islands are was the case earlier.
In addition, the shrimp migration study which was required to be done earlier under the EIA which was just approved is yet to be completed. This is a vital component to be assessed since the reclamation of island A involves 2,300 acres, which is still very significant in terms of impacts on the marine life, shrimp migration, food security and so on.
Moreover, the statement of need for the project too has changed, now that the Federal government is providing the funds needed to address the transport woes of the State.
The State cannot rely on the DOE’s approval of April 2023 and proceed with the environmental management plan in view of the change that has occurred.