Laudato Si Movement – Africa: Pipeline Project Irreparable Damage to Environment

NAIROBI, JUNE 2, 2023 (CISA)– “The Proposed East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP) is among the projects Pope Francis is saying we have to radically stop because of the harm they are inflicting on mother earth, on communities, and other creation,” the Laudato Si Movement-Africa has said.

According to Prince Papa, the movement’s Programs Manager for Africa, the association is calling on the bishop’s conferences in Uganda and Tanzania, priests and religious, lay people and the affected community to speak out against the project, which poses a threat to the environment.

“Talking about this pipeline is a threat to yourself, whether you are a clergy, politician or ordinary person. We have seen the government of Uganda arresting innocent students and raiding offices of civil society organizations, so we don’t expect less that if the clergy talk about these projects they will be raided. The clergy even though they have not come out clearly to take any position on this project, we know they will do when the right time comes and they will help us mobilize the community to say no to this project,” Prince said in an interview with CISA.

According to 350.org, an international movement of people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy, EACOP if built would be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world and is expected to cause large-scale displacement of communities and pose grave risks to protected environments, water sources and wetlands in both Uganda and Tanzania.

“We have been informed through various research by various institutions that this pipeline will pass through the Murchison Falls, this is a great national park in Uganda, and will pass around Lake Victoria; remember how many lives the lake supports, both human and aquatic life and the pipeline going all the way is going to displace thousands of people,” he says, informing that over 1000 families have been displaced currently.

This 1,443 km pipeline project will transport oil produced from Uganda’s Lake Albert oilfields to the port of Tanga in Tanzania where the oil will then be sold onwards to world markets.

“The emissions from burning the oil transported through the pipeline alone is estimated at 33 million tonnes of CO2 per year, at a time when the world’s scientists are telling us that new fossil fuel developments need to stop if we are to tackle the climate crisis,” says 350.org in a campaign dubbed #StopEACOP.

“In Tanzania, we are seeing that the land is owned by the government so they can just come and throw people away or resettle them. When you are being displaced, in that place you have your ancestors there, or your kids buried, and you have connections with these places. Take for example in Uganda if the government forcefully purchases your land, in a market economy you have to negotiate, which is not what is happening in Uganda. If the government has marked your land if you don’t sell it they are taking it and there is no option for you,” says Prince Papa.

In a bid to sensitize the communities on the effects of the project, Laudato Si Movement-Africa has embarked on grass root mobilization, training lay people and religious institutions amid the silence from the local bishops on the five billion US dollar project.

“We are working to support what the church is doing and what Laudato Si is calling for is what we stand with. We hope that the episcopal conferences will take time to discern and hope that they will go by what Laudato Si says,” appealed Prince while calling for a halt to the project and diversion of the funds to renewable energy.

Source: CISA

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