Perkins played every snap on offense, getting his chance to lead the team against the Chargers. It wasn’t a regular season-type stat line – 10-for-17, 133 yards, two touchdowns – but he certainly got the job done beyond just completing passes and creating big plays.
Where he did a lot of his damage was on the ground with 39 yards rushing on eight carries with one touchdown – a beautiful zone-read from the 1-yard line. His athleticism was on full display, especially during this 9-yard run.
Gotta be quicker than that to catch @TDN_Perk ! 🏃💨
He threw both of his touchdown passes to Lance McCutcheon, perhaps the Rams’ breakout player at wide receiver. Both of them were great throws, too, giving his receiver a chance to make a play with his bigger frame.
“Times are difficult, so we will do it slowly, but surely… at the pace that global conditions allow, not sacrificing too much of the current well-being for a distant future; but not sacrificing the future for an immediate profit, either.” This is what Rodrigo Chaves, president of Costa Rica, stated on May 24 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, on his first trip since taking office after winning the elections as an advocate of significant changes in a small Central American country that is known for its environmentalist tendencies. This was his answer to a question about the environmental proposal of his incipient government before other public officials and investors who supposedly value more and more the profile of sustainability of their destinations.
He went on: “In Costa Rica, we are facing historical challenges regarding the management of our river basins. We have invested very little in sewage systems and we have too much pollution. We will work on that. Regarding solids management, we are not recycling, we don’t have enough of a circular economy.” Chaves was not lying as he pointed out serious and long-standing problems that hide behind the facade of the international awards won for the environmental results of the last 40 years and the applause received by the plans against climate change of previous governments.
The global economic moment is not easy for the environmental profile of the country, and Chaves is part of the moment. Even though he questions the profitability of an eventual oil exploration in Costa Rica, he pushed back the efforts of the previous government to forbid this activity by law. He sees the exploitation of natural gas as acceptable. He ruled out promoting the ratification of the Escazú Agreement, an international treaty signed in 2018 in Costa Rica for the protection of environmental activists, with the support of the United Nations. He works with the explicit support of business chambers that prioritize the “economic reactivation” – a concept that has been repeated like a mantra after the pandemic hit. Electric mobility is not on his to-do list. The unemployment rate of 12% is one of the highest in the region, and Chaves will not compromise the present for the future, as he said in Davos.
Environmental sectors see confusion. Others believe that it is still early to judge the government’s environmental side, but they recognize the lack of promising signs. There are not many clear criticisms from leaders of the environmental sector, NGOs or authorities of the recent past. No one wants to get into public quarrels with the government. Henry Picado, spokesperson for a group of environmental associations called the Costa Rican Federation for Conservation (FECON), says that perhaps there is a lot of caution, as well as satisfaction from the sector that Minister Franz Tattenbach comes from (private forestry), and expectation for what the new government will bring, besides some improvisation that they have noticed.
Meanwhile, a conservationist group called the Green Block attributes an “authoritarian drift” to the government due to a plan for a legal reform that would take away from citizen groups (academic, social or scientific) the right to participate in the decision-making process of the Ministry of Environment. It “concentrates the power in the figure of the minister, which calls into question the will of the Executive Branch to strengthen the democratization of environmental governance,” states the organization. It also warns about possible sources of conflict in a country where nine out of 10 Costa Ricans support the idea that the post-pandemic economy must recover hand in hand with the environment, but only two out of 10 have actively participated in community actions on climate change, according to a survey carried out by the local United Nations headquarters in 2021.
Other groups still await the appointment of a vice minister in charge of water and oceans (91% of the country’s surface), a position created in the last decade, in line with recent trends in protecting water resources and life on the coasts and in oceans, like the two that flank the Central American isthmus, particularly vulnerable to disruptions due to climate change. The minister, Franz Tattenbach, an economist with experience in protecting terrestrial national parks, has already hinted that he would see fit to lift a current ban on fishing by dangerous bottom trawling methods.
Even so, renowned environmental voices prefer not to sound the alarms yet, aware that other problems have been present for years. Although 99% of electricity production comes from clean sources, 75% of total energy expenditure goes to imported fossil fuels, due to a number of vehicles that, by proportion per capita, is the third highest in Latin America. Numerous diagnoses and experts also point out deficiencies in urban growth, in the use of agrochemicals and in the pollution of rivers, as Chaves openly said in Davos.
Costa Rica is still better positioned than the international averages, although its own trend is unfavorable: between 2011 and 2022 it fell from 5th to 68th place among 180 nations assessed in the Environmental Performance Index, a measurement carried out by researchers from the universities of Yale and Columbia, in the United States. The country ranks 167th in recycling and 157th in managing the concentration of nitrogen in the soil, associated with fertilizers. Among the nations of Latin America, however, Costa Rica retains the third best overall position, only below Cuba (60) and Chile (65).
The 2021 report from a think tank and research center of the state universities called the State of the Nation Program concedes that the environmental strengths are extensive. It attributes this to decades of public initiatives, and private and civil society participation, in addition to various ecosystem management plans. This can be confirmed by the thousands of foreigners who support the ecotourism industry and the 93% of the population who have access to drinking water by simply opening the tap at home. The risks, nonetheless, are just as obvious.
“Despite the fact that internally the challenges are profound and the situation is serious in many agendas, it is undeniable that, comparatively, recognition was obtained regarding the progress made in conservation. It is imperative to take care of what has been built and, above all, define informed and precise policies that counteract the risks. The current context, marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and the deep crisis that it has generated, has become a breeding ground for the return of anti-environmental discourses, and the generation of new tensions that favor the neglect or the unsustainable use of protected natural resources or of the recovered coverage,” declares the State of the Nation Report from 2021.
That same report forecasts that the trend of urbanism and agricultural development will cause a loss of tree coverage of more than 500 km2 (1.4% of the current surface) in 2025, particularly in areas of agriculture and a larger social gap, despite the constant remarks of Christiana Figueres, the international reference against climate change from Costa Rica, who tirelessly points out that the country’s development opportunities reside precisely in those particular environmental conditions.
U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper — then the governor of Colorado — arrived in Aurora the morning of July 20, 2012, to review the scene of the theater shooting where 12 people had been murdered hours earlier.
He remembers vividly the video police took of the theater and debris.
“There was popcorn everywhere. You could see blood on the seats. And there were no people, which somehow made it more chilling,” he recalled a decade later.
In the days after the shooting, Hickenlooper, along with then-Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and former President Barack Obama, made it a priority to meet with and visit the survivors and the families of the dead.
Then, as so often it goes, the conversation turned to legislation.
The theater shooting was a catalyst for lawmakers to act on gun violence, though they were met with vehement pushback at nearly every turn. Along with the safety threats — Democratic Party Chairperson Morgan Carroll, who was a state senator representing Aurora at the time, received nine credible threats the following legislative session — opponents also warned they’d end political careers.
In 2013, opponents of gun control legislation made good on their promise to recall sitting lawmakers who signed onto bills that limited gun magazines to 15 rounds and required universal background checks on gun sales. State Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse, both Democrats from Southern Colorado, were recalled after an influx of cash and campaigning from the gun lobby. Later, State Sen. Evie Houdak, also a Democrat, resigned her seat. Morse had served as Senate president.
For years after, state Democratic leaders say, those recall efforts had a chilling effect on tackling gun legislation, even if polling showed they had public opinion on their side and friendly donors, such as Michael Bloomberg, were willing to step in and help.
“If the entire community were really voting on this, I don’t actually think those folks would have been recalled. But because the state statute was designed so that you can recall for any reason or no reason at all, and the math that triggers a recall is at an irregular time, with no real campaign apparatus to drive voter turnout, you have an intense minority of people that were able to overthrow the will of the majority of voters, by, in my opinion, abusing the recall process,” Carroll said.
In the end, there were questions about whether the recalls really came down to opinions on gun laws, but it didn’t stop Democrats from tapping the brakes on gun legislation.
“The [Colorado General Assembly], like any organization, has a personality. It’s the aggregate personality of all the people in the Senate and House and when they see two pretty good senators taken out in a recall, I think that makes everybody a little more cautious,” Hickenlooper said.
‘Culture of violence’
Giffords, a pro-gun control advocacy group, says by some measures Colorado has made significant progress on passing laws believed to prevent dangerous shootings. Universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders, domestic violence gun laws, a child access prevention law and extended background check periods are all counted among what the state “does well.”
“I think that Colorado has done a lot and we know that states with strong gun laws have fewer gun deaths than states with weak gun laws,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel and director of local policy at Giffords.
Still, the state saw gun purchases spike in the last two years. Non-fatal shootings rose 136% between 2019 and 2021 in Aurora, and a handful of mass shootings have happened across the state since 2013, including last year at a Boulder grocery store where a 21-year-old gunman killed 10 people.
“Colorado has done a better job … but that still doesn’t diminish the fact that we’re seeing more shootings, more mass shootings, every year,” Hickenlooper said. “I think that [there is a] culture of violence. There’s so many guns in the systems, and even if we stopped any gun purchases tomorrow, even then there is this culture of violence.
“Other countries have the same mental health challenges and issues and cycles of the economy that create ways of anxiety for their citizens, but they don’t have these shootings.”
Hickenlooper was himself the target of criticism in his own party as being a hold up for legislation. In the days after the shooting, Hickenlooper said on CNN that he was skeptical any laws would have stopped the shooter in Aurora.
“If it was not one weapon, it would have been another, and he was diabolical,” he said.
State Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, whose son Alex was killed in the Aurora theater shooting, said even today he runs into opposition in his party on gun legislation. He was elected in 2018, running unabashedly on gun safety legislation.
“Two out of the four years I’ve been in the House, we weren’t even allowed to run gun legislation,” he said. “I’ve had heated conversations with the last two speakers of the Colorado House as to why bills aren’t put up. These aren’t even monumental [bills]. …This is like, lost and stolen firearms, raising the minimum age of buying an assault rifle. It’s been 22 years since Columbine and we don’t even have a definition of assault rifle.”
During this year’s legislative session, Democrats considered running a measure raising the age from 18 to 21 to buy an assault-style rifle, but a bill never materialized.
That frustration is echoed on the federal level, as many advocates and voters say a recent package of gun bills agreed upon in the House and Senate still doesn’t go far enough. President Joe Biden signed the legislation into law earlier this month. The bills strengthen background checks for young gun buyers, encourage states to enact red flag laws and include $13 billion to bolster mental health programs.
Looking back at the last decade, Sullivan wonders if Democrats would have had an easier time and be less hesitant today if they’d taken a different approach a decade ago.
“What if in 2013 they had just done two bills? Would we not have had two senators recalled and one resigned? Would we not have continued to have the Democratic Party in fear of having a day-to-day conversation of prevention because of how it’s going to impact their caucus?” he said.
So many people have been touched by gun violence now, Sullivan said he wants Coloradans to look at the legislature and know that work on the issue is happening, just like transportation or education. Even if a bill doesn’t pass on the first try.
“I can learn from that,” he said. “But I’m running out of time.”
Despite the frustration, Sullivan is confident that the laws passed in Colorado have made a difference.
“The pendulum has swung back and we have saved lives because of the work that has happened over the last 10 years. I can tell you people are alive because of that work,” he said. “Certainly not enough, and we will continue to work on that. But parents are tucking in kids who they might not, in all probability, if we had been doing nothing.”
Giffords says Colorado still misses the mark on gun owner licensing, assault weapon restrictions, waiting periods, concealed carry laws and open carry regulations, but it’s hard to say whether the hill ahead of Democrats is steeper than the last.
“Some of these proposals poll well,” Anderman, with Giffords, said. “So why state politicians aren’t introducing or moving them is really a question for them.”
Kara Mason is managing editor of Sentinel Colorado.
The 2022 HCA TV Awards began its two-night event at the Beverly Hilton with a ceremony for the honorees in the Broadcast Network and Cable edition, which was hosted by The Daily Show’s Dulcé Sloan. On Sunday, Tig Notaro will host the streaming awards ceremony.
HBO’s White Lotus led all shows with five wins including best limited series. Additionally, Mike White prevailed for writing and directing, while the series picked up prizes for Jennifer Coolidge for supporting actress and Murray Bartlett for supporting actor.
ABC’s Abbott Elementary won four trophies, including best broadcast comedy, actress for Quinta Brunson and supporting actress for Janelle James. AMC’s Better Call Saul also won four awards ahead of Monday’s series finale. It prevailed for best cable drama (a tie with HBO’s Succession) and earned wins for Bob Odenkirk for actor, Rhea Seehorn for supporting actress and Giancarlo Esposito for supporting actor.
“Thank you to the Hollywood critics for not putting us in a category with Quinta Brunson,” quipped This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman when accepting the prize for best broadcast drama. He also won for writing for his NBC show’s final season.
HBO’s Barry won three awards, including best comedy actor for Bill Hader and supporting actor for Henry Winkler. Best cable comedy series went to FX’s What We Do in the Shadows.
Additionally, honorary awards presented Saturday included TV Breakout Star Award to Brunson, TV Icon Award to Giancarlo Esposito and Virtuoso Award to Mandy Moore.
The full list of winners is below.
Best Game Show
Celebrity Family Feud (ABC) (WINNER)
Jeopardy! National College Championship (ABC)
Name That Tune (FOX)
Supermarket Sweep (ABC)
The Chase (ABC)
To Tell The Truth (ABC)
Best Broadcast Network Reality Show or Competition Series
America’s Got Talent (NBC)
Holey Moley (ABC)
Lego Masters (FOX) (WINNER)
Next Level Chef (FOX)
The Masked Singer (FOX)
The Voice (NBC)
Best Cable Reality Show or Competition Series
Bar Rescue (Paramount Network)
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses (TBS)
Project Runway (Bravo)
RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1) (WINNER)
Top Chef (Bravo)
Best Broadcast Network or Cable Docuseries or Non-Fiction Series
30 for 30 (ESPN)
The New York Times Presents: Controlling Britney Spears (FX)
Janet Jackson (Lifetime)
Shark Tank (ABC)
The American Rescue Dog Show (ABC)
We Need to Talk About Cosby (Showtime) (WINNER)
Best Broadcast Network or Cable Documentary TV Movie
Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (Showtime)
Black Patriots: Heroes of the Civil War (History)
Dean Martin: King of Cool (TCM)
End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock (Fuse) (WINNER)
Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer (National Geographic)
Best Broadcast Network or Cable Variety Sketch Series, Talk Series, or Special
A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO) (WINNER)
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Real-Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Best Broadcast Network or Cable Animated Series or TV Movie
Bob’s Burgers (FOX)
Family Guy (FOX)
Rick and Morty (Adult Swim) (WINNER)
South Park (Comedy Central)
Tuca & Bertie (Adult Swim)
Best Broadcast Network or Cable Live-Action TV Movie
A Clüsterfünke Christmas (Comedy Central)
List of a Lifetime (Lifetime)
Ray Donovan: The Movie (Showtime)
Reba McEntire’s Christmas in Tune (Lifetime)
The Survivor (HBO) (WINNER)
Best Writing in a Broadcast Network or Cable Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Movie
Aaron Cooley, Cathy Schulman, Ellen Fairey, Abby Ajayi, The First Lady “Voices Carry” (Showtime)
Jenny Klein & Travis Sentell, The Thing About Pam “She’s a Killer” (NBC)
George Pelecanos and David Simon, We Own This City “Part One” (HBO)
Hagai Levi, Scenes From a Marriage “The Illiterates” (HBO)
Mike White, The White Lotus “Mysterious Monkeys” (HBO) (WINNER)
Sarah Burgess, Impeachment: American Crime Story “Man Handled” (FX)
Taylor Cox, Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail “What Happens in Branchwater” (TBS)
Best Directing in a Broadcast Network or Cable Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Movie
Gina Prince-Bythewood, Women of the Movement “Mother and Son” (ABC)
Hagai Levi, Scenes From A Marriage “The Illiterates” (HBO)
Mike White, The White Lotus “Mysterious Monkeys” (HBO) (WINNER)
Barry Levinson, The Survivor (HBO)
Ryan Murphy, Impeachment: American Crime Story “Man Handled” (FX)
Steve Buscemi, Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail “Over the Mountain” (TBS)
Best Supporting Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Movie
Alexandra Daddario, The White Lotus (HBO)
Betty Gilpin, Gaslit (Starz)
Connie Britton, The White Lotus (HBO)
Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus (HBO) (WINNER)
Judy Greer, The Thing About Pam (NBC)
Sydney Sweeney, The White Lotus (HBO)
Best Supporting Actor in a Broadcast Network or Cable Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Movie
Dan Stevens, Gaslit (Starz)
Josh Charles, We Own This City (HBO)
Josh Duhamel, The Thing About Pam (NBC)
Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus (HBO) (WINNER)
Steve Buscemi, Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail (TBS)
Steve Zahn, The White Lotus (HBO)
Best Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Limited Series, Anthology Series, or TV Movie
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been strategic in deflecting any 2024 presidential talk as he endeavors in his gubernatorial re-election campaign in the Sunshine State. Despite efforts to mitigate any conversations about his unconfirmed presidential run, talk surrounding his potentially joining former President Trump as vice president on the ticket or even running for president himself could sway votes in his home state this November.
“I think he’s amassed a tremendous amount of financial resources, which goes a long way in a state as expensive as Florida with all its various media markets. And most importantly, he’s got a record he can run on. And I think [his team is] smart to continue to focus on that and to not let the 2024 chatter,” Colin Reed, Republican strategist and co-founder of South and Hill Strategies, told Fox News Digital. “Now, let’s not let that overwhelm or consume or become a distraction, because I think that has a risk of potentially turning voters off.”
DeSantis, a clear favorite in Florida, is expected to come head-to-head with Charlie Crist, a Democratic candidate. Crist, a former governor of Florida and longtime Congressman, is a well-recognized name in the pool of Democratic candidates and is expected to give DeSantis a run for his money come November.
“In my opinion, considering that the number one reason somebody votes for a candidate across the board – whether it’s always Senate, House or president – is name recognition. And Charlie Crist has that recognition. He has a pretty good reputation in Florida. I’m surprised the polls aren’t closer,” Leslie Marshall, Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor, told Fox News Digital.
DeSantis has been treading carefully to ensure voters know Florida remains his top priority as Election Day draws closer, according to Reed. Despite the fact it would be unprecedented and possibly detrimental to one’s campaign to announce a presidential run during another campaign, Reed says DeSantis 2024 talk is unavoidable.
“Voters across the ideological spectrum don’t like the idea that they’re just being a platform for the next thing. So, I think he wise to do that,” Reed said. “So, some of his 2024 speculation and chatter is inevitable. But they have to navigate it very carefully. Take nothing for granted. They should. They remind voters of Florida why they elected him and why they should re-elect him.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces that he wants to raise the minimum starting salary for teachers during a press conference held at Bayview Elementary School on October 07, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Governor’s proposed 2020 budget recommendation will include a pay raise for more than 101,000 teachers in Florida by raising the minimum salary to $47,500. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DeSantis most recently announced he would hit the campaign trail with several Trump-backed candidates, including Ohio Republican Senate candidate JD Vance, Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano and Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters. While some experts view this move as a way to expand his political operation, Marshall says this could be a foreshadowing of his 2024 plans.
“The stakes in this midterm are incredibly high, and every Republican needs to be invested in helping. Obviously endorsing and supporting candidates around the country is often a precursor to a national campaign, but it is not guaranteed,” Texas-based GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak told Fox News Digital.
On August 9, DeSantis was announced to be headlining a New Mexico rally with New Mexico gubernatorial candidate, Mark Ronchetti – a candidate whom Trump has not endorsed.
“I think it sends a signal that the map is expanding for conservatives, Republicans,” Reed said. “The Democrats run all three branches of government. I think there’s going to be some opportunities about themselves and potentially unusual places. New Mexico could be one of them,” Reed said.
On the other hand, Marshall says this is one of several examples outing DeSantis as an “on the fence” candidate, which could potentially turn voters off as they see DeSantis turning his focus to other states and potentially other races.
Former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are extremely popular among CPAC attendees. (Jayme Gershen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“Charlie Crist can and should use that to stand to run for governor and having plans, bigger aspirations for the state, for the presidency, because, you know, all you have to do is paint it as they don’t really care about you. You’re not here. I’m here,” Marshall said.
Trump and DeSantis have been on each other’s coattails in several conservative straw polls asking voters who they would vote for as president in 2024. Running on similar platforms and agendas, Trump landed first place in the Texas Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, with 69% of the vote. DeSantis came in second with 24% of the vote.
However, DeSantis did beat out the former president in the Western Conservative Summit straw poll back in June, amassing a 71% approval rate and Trump earning a 67% approval rate.
Despite the back and forth, Reed says DeSantis is running on his own platform and Florida voters will be voting for DeSantis, not the Trump agenda.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks at the 2022 CPAC conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida Feb. 24, 2022. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
“I think Governor DeSantis has carved his own path in Florida, certainly his leadership from the pandemic and how he distinguished himself there on the national stage. So, I believe they are voting as a referendum on the last four years of his leadership,” Reed said.
Marshall expects DeSantis to announce a 2024 presidential run following Trump’s own announcement, of which the former president has been dropping Easter eggs since leaving office. However, whether he runs as vice president or as president has yet to be determined.
“I think the field of 2024 is and will be wide open. And he’s going to have to compete with a slew of other candidates there. So, today’s winner is tomorrow’s loser,” Reed said. “I think the biggest challenge he faces is having this presumed front-runner status because maintaining that over the next two-plus years, that’s a challenge.”
Haley Chi-Sing is a Fox News Digital production assistant. You can reach her at @haleychising on Twitter.
Sean McVay provided an initial update after the game, saying he believes Brown will be OK after talking to head trainer Reggie Scott. But McVay wants to wait for the final results before making an official designation.
“I think he’s gonna be OK. Other than just talking to Reggie initially, we’ll wait and see exactly, but he was somewhat optimistic. But I want to wait before I get the final results,” he said.
Brown has been suspended for the first six games of the regular season, but he’s eligible for the preseason, so these are critical games for him as he fights to make the roster once his suspension is lifted.
Kaieteur News – A recent ruling by the Environmental Assessment Board (EAB) to uphold a decision made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) not to require Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for ExxonMobil’s 12-well drilling campaigns, in both the Kaieteur and Canje Blocks offshore Guyana is “illogical and not surprising”.
Environmentalist, Simone Mangal-Joly
This is according to Environmentalist, Simone Mangal-Joly who shared her conviction with this newspaper during an interview after the EAB handed down its decision last Thursday.
Merits of the Decision
In providing the decision, Ms. Pradeepa Bholanath, Chair of the EAB, noted that drilling campaigns and passage of supply/support vessels have been executed by the American oil major, ExxonMobil over the past few years and are currently ongoing. She said the impact of these within the Stabroek Block has been examined over the years by the oil company alongside several studies that also targeted the Canje and Kaieteur Blocks. These provide initial baseline data that allow a forecast of expected impacts within each block. Sufficient data existed to conclude that any negative impact of the proposed individual projects would be primarily local and short-term. Therefore, the EAB upheld the EPA’s decision to waive the EIAs.
However, Bholanauth said the collective impact of these projects needed to be examined further. Given the increasing drilling activity on the Stabroek Block and its proximity to the Canje and Kaieteur Blocks, along with the number of wells proposed to be drilled, the EAB ordered that ExxonMobil must conduct an EIA of the cumulative impacts of the activities of its projects and provide an updated baseline assessment.
In reaction to the EAB’s decision, environmentalist Simone Mangal-Joly said that the EAB’s decision made “no sense.” She said, “One needs a cumulative impact assessment as part of an EIA before approving and granting a permit for an activity. What if the cumulative impact assessment finds that this one extra activity when piled onto everything else going on offshore, let’s say for example seismic surveys and drilling of 12 wells in the Kaieteur Block, is too much to bear? What then? The EPA would have already approved well drilling in Kaieteur. This decision is also not justified by the reasoning the EAB provided. If you look at my submission, I specifically argued that cumulative impact assessments were needed and that was exactly why EIAs were required. I also specified the types of data needed for a decision to be reached on the significance of the impacts. None of the baseline studies or any other study that the EAB used to justify its decision contain that information.”
In the written appeals Mangal-Joly had submitted to the EAB back in 2021, she wrote that “…the agency (EPA) lacks the relevant empirical data required to conclude that the proposed drilling activities are not likely to significantly impact the natural environment or Guyana’s offshore fish populations and fisheries sector.” She specified that there was: “no recorded evidence anywhere, in any EIA already completed, or baseline studies conducted offshore, of the locations of coral reefs and fish nurseries relative to existing drill sites and/or proposed exploratory drill sites and deep-sea current and seabed contour information.” She further stated that there was: “no baseline information in any of the baseline studies to which the applications refer on fish and mammal life cycle and migratory patterns, and the extent and full economic and socio-economic value of offshore related fisheries or near shore fisheries affected by offshore oil and gas logistic activities.” There were also “no baseline biological assays of fish, biomarkers of fish population and communities, or any related monitoring and evaluation data for these and other relevant parametres in and around areas where production and exploratory drilling is in progress or has been concluded.” Moreover, Mangal-Joly had pointed out that the impacts of Kaieteur and Canje multi-well drilling activities scheduled to run from 2022-2027, could not be disassociated from the Stabroek-25 well, Stabroek 12-well, Canje 3-well, Liza Phase 1, Liza Phase 2, Payara, and Yellowtail developments or the activities of other oil and gas actors offshore. She argued that EIAs were needed to determine cumulative impacts, and this required adequate data on the specific and relative locations of each activity, sensitive ecological features, as well as biophysical parametres such as ocean currents, and interactions, among all these parametres.
In reacting to Thursday’s decision, Mangal-Joly said that there is still no proof that any of this data exists at all and still no way that anyone could, at this stage, conclude that the impacts would be insignificant. She said that the Precautionary Principle enshrined in the Environmental Protection Act compels the EPA and EAB to err on the side of caution when there is insufficient information. According to Mangal-Joly, “the scientific truths point only in one direction – the need for EIAs for the Canje and Kaieteur drilling applications and the consideration of cumulative impacts within each EIA, which is conducted to inform a decision on whether or not to grant an environmental permit for an activity.”
ExxonMobil through its subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) had submitted the applications for the Canje and Kaieteur Blocks exploration in 2021. The EPA waived the requirement for EIAs claiming that seismic surveys and deep-water exploratory drilling would not significantly affect the environment. As part of the statutory legal process, the EPA is required to publish all decisions to waive EIAs with its reasons for doing so. The public has 28 days in which it may send its objections to EAB which reviews and decides on whether to uphold the EPA’s waivers or require EIAs.
As such, Mangal-Joly challenged the EPA’s decisions to waive the EIAs back in 2021 when they were made. She submitted written technical arguments to the EAB, but when the public hearing was held in June of this year, she boycotted the hearing in a written notice in which she stated the EAB had “completely failed to meet best practice standards for addressing appeals on EIA waivers in a timely and impartial manner”. Mangal-Joly pointed to the EAB allowing the EPA an inordinate amount of time to develop reasons for waiving the EIAs, which she argued by law and logic must be present in full at the time the EPA announces its decision and triggers the statutory 28-day public appeals period.
In the case of the Kaieteur Block application, she pointed out that the EAB had undermined the statutory process of the appeal that had been triggered on September 24, 2021. It allowed the EPA to re-trigger the appeal process by publishing a notice six months later on March 7, 2022, stating that the agency had received an application from ExxonMobil and was waiving the EIA, as though the very application was not already before the appeals body, the environmentalist pointed out. Mangal-Joly argued too that this was procedurally incorrect as the EPA had no credible reasons to justify its waiver in the first place, and the EAB was “indulging the EPA in a rigging of the process.”
At the public hearing, only representatives from the EPA, ExxonMobil, and the EAB were present, during which the EPA provided an overview of the two proposed drilling campaigns and their screening process and results, while ExxonMobil presented a description of the project, and previous work done with relevance to the Environment Permits for which it had applied.
Mangal-Joly concluded her comments to this newspaper reflecting on the process; “I suspect we have a case here where the scientists on the EAB know what is correct scientifically and morally, but they cannot displease their overlords. Therefore, we have this bizarre decision that allows the EPA to green-light ExxonMobil’s applications while calling for a cumulative impact assessment. The EAB appears to grasp the significance of what is unfolding offshore of Guyana. However, it’s a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of offshore oil and gas activity that is needed, not a cumulative impact assessment, which is a creature of an EIA.”
Need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment of Offshore Development
Mangal-Joly explained that, “An EIA is conducted for a specific project to understand the likely impacts early in the project design phase; this points to ways of adjusting design to minimise impacts or additional activities to manage undesirable impacts. A cumulative assessment is a standard part of an EIA. It allows one to understand the added burden that the proposed project will bring.”
In contrast, she noted that a SEA, also referred to as a Strategic Impact Assessment is not only focussed on a specific project or company’s activity, but would consider the entire offshore geography with all the planned activities from different companies.
According to her, this detailed study would consider sustainable development and environmental protection goals holistically and could guide policy decisions such as oil and gas licensing. Additionally, “It would involve adequate data gathering and continuous monitoring of the situation offshore so that each successive project application could be screened within a comprehensive framework, in a timely manner. A SEA helps make the policy, planning, and environmental management process rational and evidence based. This is what Guyana needs,” she argued.
Hartselle native Jesse Mashburn’s musical journey, which began by singing in church and school choirs and acting in community theater productions, will continue in Europe at Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria.
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