On 29 July 2015, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee addressed the Ministry of Environment of Ukraine with a proposal to provide their feedback to facts and accusations expressed by EPL regarding the shalegas agreements within five months.
Back in November 2014, EPL made a submission to the Committee stating that in 2013 in the process of preparing and concluding the agreement on hydrocarbon sharing regarding Yuzivska and Oleska fields the government seriously violated environmental rights of citizens of Ukraine, in particular the right to get access to draft texts of such agreements, the right to safe for life and health environment because of failure of the government to conduct state environmental expertise of texts of such agreements, the right to participation in the process of adoption by the government of such strategic decisions as well as the right of EPL to challenge the actions and omissions of the government in court.
On 29 November 2015, passes the deadline for submitting the feedback but as of mid December no reply from the Ministry of Environment has been submitted to relevant international bodies.
Such a position proves again that the Aarhus Convention and international obligations of the state in the sphere of environmental protection in general are very low in the scale of priorities of the Ministry of Environment. Moreover, the draft law “On Environmental Impact Assessment” that was supposed to be adopted as a result of considering the first case against Ukraine initiated in the Compliance Committee in 2005, for years cannot go through the first reading in the Parliament.
In spite of temporal truce in the issue of shale gas extraction in Ukraine, EPL plans to continue to work for disclosure and challenging the agreements on hydrocarbons sharing granted by Yanukovych’s government to big gas extraction companies with questionable reputation.
We cannot forget that both agreements were signed for fifty years on conditions that are extremely disadvantageous for Ukraine. EPL strives to gain result in this matter now so that in twenty years our children do not face the same problem again when all deadlines for challenging decisions and actions of authorities pass.