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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an Enforcement Notice to compel ExxonMobil to provide unlimited liability parent company guarantee insurance, for its Liza Phase One Project in the Stabroek Block, as directed by Justice Sandil Kissoon in his ruling on May 3. This was confirmed by EPA’s attorney-at-law, Mr. Sanjeev Datadin on Wednesday when the party appeared before Court of Appeal Judge Rishi Persaud.
Exxon was given until June 10, by the High Court, to furnish EPA with a liability agreement from an insurance company. Justice Kissoon on May 3 directed EPA to order Exxon, within 30-days from his ruling, to provide such insurance on its permits or risk having the permits suspended. EPA issued the Notice as of May 9, 2023.
The EPA has however appealed the High Court’s decision and also sought a stay of the judgement until the Court of Appeal determined the case. Justice Persaud denied the request to stay the Enforcement Notice until the case is determined. On Wednesday he said he will issue his ruling on the stay next week. If the ruling goes in the EPA’s favour this would put off the June 10 insurance deadline and set a full court reconsideration of the high court’s ruling.
The plaintiffs, President of the Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) Fredericks Collins and private citizen, Godfrey Whyte, had asked the High Court to issue a declaration that unlimited liability is imposed on the parent company for costs associated with clean-up, restoration and compensation for pollution, including the environmental obligations of the EPA and the state of Guyana, should a spill happen. Their attorneys are Seenath Jairam SC, Melinda Janki and Abiola Wong-Inniss.