Grand Cape Mount’s Alleged Chemical Spillage Grabs Legislature’s Attention, Summons Mines and Energy, EPA
Monrovia – The Liberian Senate has cited authorities of Mines and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministry of Health to appear before the Senate Standing Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment.
They will appear to address concerns about reported spillover of a chemical used by Bea Mountain Mining Company (BMMC) in Grand Cape Mount County.
The reported spillage is said to have resulted to the pollution of the Mafa River in Grand Cape Mount County; leaving several species dead, including a dog that reportedly died as the result of drinking from the contaminated water.
Based on Plenary’s mandate, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Simeon B. Taylor has cited the relevant institutions to a hearing on Wednesday May 25 to institute measures to tackle said emerging environmental crisis.
The decision by the Senate to cite the relevant institutions was based on a disclosure made by Cllr. Varney G. Sherman during the Senate’s deliberation on Tuesday May 24.
Senator Sherman, in his presentation called on the Senate to immediately launch an investigation into the alleged environmental crisis in his County so as to remedy the situation as it borders on the lives of the citizenry in that part of the Country.
At the House of Representatives, plenary voted in favor motion filed by District #2, Margibi County Lawmaker mandating the House’s Specialized Committee set up by Speaker Bhofal Chambers in 2021 that is currently probing Bea Mountain.
Prior to the vote, Speaker Chambers ignored Rep. Jones’ first motion calling on the company’s management to appear before the House, while at the same time, the House’s Specialized Committee conducts its investigation.
Reps. Kamara and Sherriff, in disagreement with the decision, called on the House to treat the situation as a national emergency and address it urgently by inviting the company’s management.
The lawmakers said the situation was beyond committee’s investigation; calling on the House to invite the company’s management.
Rep. Samuel Kogar (District #5, Nimba County) also joined the Cape Mount’s lawmakers in asking plenary to invite the company’s management, but his plea was ignored.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced that its Executive Director, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh has commissioned a team from the agency’s regional office in Tubmanburg, Bomi County along with agency’s scientists from head office in Monrovia to immediately investigate the alleged incident.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the EPA through its head of Media and Corporate Communications, Danise Love Dennis stated that the team will be dispatched to the alleged site to ascertain the gravity of the pollution.
“The public is urged to remain calm as we await a technical report from the team, the EPA strongly advised residents of the alleged affected communities to avoid usage of the water and not to consume any dead aquatic species; especially fishes until further notice,” the EPA urged.
Also in the statement, the EPA assured the public that it remained committed to its core value of ensuring a clean, safe and healthy environment for all.
It urged the public to report any act of pollution across the country.
In a relative development, Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC) has clarified that no abnormal conditions have taken place in its plant.
According to a press release issued by BMMC on Tuesday, May 24, there is also no discharge from the plant.
The release noted that all protocols in keeping with EPA guidelines and best practice are intact.
However, the company revealed that it has sent a specialist environmental team to investigate the allegations of pollution in the surrounding water and streams.
In addition to the steps taken, BMMC noted that it has also engaged an independent government-certified laboratory to collect samples from the areas that are reported to be impacted.
The company assured to keep the public informed on the results of all investigations that are underway.
It affirmed its committed to continually support its neighboring communities to ensure their safety as it relates to the incident until clarity is derived from these investigations.
“Having notified the EPA of the incident, BMMC most welcome the EPA’s response to dispatch a team on site to investigate these allegations. BMMC indicated that it remains supportive and will continue to cooperate with authorities at every stage where needed.