Western people call for independent probe into disaster

The Western Provincial Government is calling for an independent investigation into the cause of 7.5 magnitude earthquake that occurred on Feb 26 in parts of Highlands and Western provinces.

North Fly MP, James Donald, whilst giving his speech in parliament during the special sitting said they also wanted regulations and a regulatory authority for the Oil and Gas sector to also monitor the rate of the extraction.

The North Fly MP also raised issues of royalties and levies that the Government must release to the landowners.

He said had there been development levies and royalty payments, provincial governments, LLGs and resource owners would be in a better position to deal with this epic proportion disaster themselves.

“As leaders we need to ask the difficult questions like:

  • Were the oil and gas extraction activities in Moro and Hides responsible
    for recent seismic activity in the area? And
  • Did the operator know of potential risks to the community?

“We want a way forward that is good for our people and for PNG as a whole.”

Mr Donald furthermore added that the people of Western Province have seriously suffered environmental damage from extractive industries for many years and like they did with Ok Tedi, they will take this matter further in the name of their people and will be seeking legal recourse.

“We want an independent investigation, legislation for checks to be in place on the industry and we want amendments to our environment Act.”

However, Hela Governor Philip Undialu defended the PNG LNG project developer saying the cause of the earthquake is through natural causes.

Freddy Mou