A Grand Kru County Senator has proposed a bill to ensure the allocation of five percent to counties and sectors producing oil in the near future.
Senator Albert Chie said, in a communication attached to the draft bill, that : “I hereby propose a bill, for the consideration of the Liberian Senate entitled: a bill for an act to establish the allocation of five percent (5%) of the rights and interests in each petroleum block to host counties.”
The communication, read in the Plenary of the Liberian Senate Tuesday during its regular sitting, explained that Liberia had a high potential for petroleum resources in its offshore areas and moderate potential in its onshore areas.
Chie, the Senate Committee Chairman on Natural Resources, Oil and Gas, told his colleagues that the current wave of intense exploration activities could lead to the discovery of oil and gas in these areas. This discovery of oil and gas, according to him, could eventually lead to petroleum development and production in communities on land and in offshore areas.
He said the production of petroleum resources, when managed properly, will have a positive impact on the economy.
He, however, noted that there were severe negative environmental and other consequences associated with such extraction which affect the livelihood and standards of living of the communities which border or host oil fields.
“Mr. President Pro Tempore, for coastal communities, these environmental effects include inter alia, in case of an oil spill, damage to coastal habitats, disruption of tourism, pollution of sea water and destruction of marine resources. All of these negatively impact the livelihood of fisherman and other businesses associated with the ocean and coastal ecosystems.” He further noted that inland communities hosting oil fields would be hard hit by pollution of ground water resources- rivers and land, and other resources, negatively impacting the livelihood of the local population.
He emphasized that Liberia, in the future, may become an oil producing country, and that it was time to ensure that the welfare of those communities are enshrined in document emanating from the current petroleum reform process.
He maintained that the basins on the land in Liberia and by extension the host counties contain some potentials for oil and gas. “Therefore, this proposed bill will benefit all counties along the coast and others inland where oil could be discovered,” his communication said.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor