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Opinions of Thursday, 29 November 2001

Columnist: Akwasi Osei Asibey

Why Will They Want to Stop the West African Gas Pipeline?

The environmental critics are at it again! They do not want the West African Gas Pipeline to be built, citing as a reason the possible environmental damage the building of the pipeline could cause. How unfortunate.

This writer is disappointed about the stance taken by the so-called environmental oriented NGOs who see nothing good coming out of the West African Gas pipeline. What amazes me is that their objection to the project does not seem to be rooted in concrete facts.

Indeed they should be reminded that the West African Gas Pipeline would not be the first or the last in the world. If they care to do a bit of research, they would realise that similar pipelines are dotted throughout the world, especially in North America and Russia. I am referring specifically to the Trans Canada Pipeline, the Alaska Pipeline and the Siberia Pipeline. These pipelines carry gas and even oil over thousand of kilometres, more than the proposed 800 kms West African Gas Pipeline, which have contributed to economic and industrial progress in the respective regions/countries. These pipelines, which have been around for many years, are yet to cause any environmental hazards such as spillage.

In short, there is technology on the market to ensure that the West African Pipeline is built to protect the environment and to generate economic spin offs for the participating countries. It is, therefore, disingenuous for the opponents of the project to use possible environmental damage to attempt to stop the project. Where are the scientific facts, one must ask? These people can only be branded as enemies of progress.

The NPP Government must be steadfast in carrying out the project. And they should remember that without a relatively cheap source of power, which the West African Gas Pipeline is designed to facilitate, especially for industry, the much-trumpeted Golden Age of Business would not materialise!