The Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) on Monday, February 21, 2022 commenced a two-week Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) licensure training intended to enhance the capacities of independent evaluators, project developers or proponents, and technicians from the environmental units of line ministries, agencies and commissions of the Liberian Government to appropriately carry-out Environmental Social Impacts Assessment (ESIA).
The 8th ESIA Licensure Training is also intended to renew the licenses of all current third-party independent evaluators, certify new evaluators, and to also certificate technicians of government ministries, agencies, and commissions as well as proponents.
Speaking at the start of the ESIA Licensure Training, the EPA Executive Director and CEO, Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh said that the training is the first and one of the most important activities and processes that are expressly written in Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia since he took over the affairs of the Agency.
He encouraged the 130 participates at the training to remain focused during the training as participants would be assessed at the end of the two-week training before they are certified by the EPA. “As we go through this training, we want you to give all of your attention as you can”, Prof. Tarpeh said.
In support, the EPA Deputy Director, Hon. Randall Dobayou, II added that the training also seeks to certify proponents wishing to conduct their own environmental monitoring reports for their projects.
Dobayou said that the licenses of firms expired since June 30, 2021 and disclosed that the EPA couldn’t conduct training because of the health restrictions on large gathering due to the COVID 19.
Giving the overview of the training, Mr. John K. Jallah, assistant manager for Compliant and Enforcement at the EPA said that the training is necessary since there are emerging environmental issues to which consultants may have limited knowledge.
Manager Jallah lamented that the training will address challenges in the reporting format of some consultants, which have led to a delay in the permit issuance process of proponents.
“The training will provide a uniform reporting format and improve the capacity of the EPA-certified environmental firms to adequately screen various emerging projects and address all potential impacts associated with these projects”, he said.
He encouraged project developers or proponents and environmental safeguard specialists of projects and programs at different ministries of government and those in the private sector to take advantage of the training. He believes by doing so will help their operations to be compliant with the environmental laws and regulations of Liberia.
“Proponents and project developers who satisfactorily complete the training shall be certified to conduct and subsequently submit their own environmental monitoring reports through their environmental units or departments, except that all laboratory environmental quality data in said reports are to be sampled and analyzed by an EPA’s third-party accredited laboratory before complete acceptance by the EPA” he added.
Section 1 of the Environment Protection and Management Law of the Republic of Liberia provides the legal framework for the sustainable development, management, and protection of the environment by the Environmental Protection Agency of the Republic of Liberia. Additional, Section 10, Part III of said Law provides the Duties of the Agency in the ESIA Process:
For any proposed project that may have a significant impact on the environment, the Agency shall develop and implement regulations establishing the procedures for evaluating the impact of the proposed project, which shall include:
The training is expected to climax with a site visit (practical exercises) by the participants, based on their respective assignment.