Consultant to be recruited for Needs Assessment on EPA

first_img– as Govt seeks to determine agency’s preparedness for oil & gasBy Jarryl BryanThe Department of Energy (DE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have both got enormous roles to play as regulators in Guyana’s Oil and Gas sector. One plan on the agenda is to have a consultant brought in to verify how prepared the EPA really is for this task.This was explained by head of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe, during his first press conference with the media recently. According to Bynoe, the DE is in the process of recruiting such a consultant.“We understand that, for the department to be strong, its sister agencies must alsoExecutive Director of the EPA, Dr Vincent Adamsbe supportive. In this vein, through consultations with the Environmental Protection Agency, the department is also recruiting a consultant to conduct a needs assessment of the EPA, and its preparedness for regulating the sector from an environmental perspective.”“Once this needs assessment is completed, we will be better able to provide the necessary support to build the capacity of the EPA,” Bynoe related, adding that his department will have a heavy focus on taking a “minimalist approach” to resource management.According to Bynoe, the EPA will not be the only agency his department will work closely with. He said collaborative efforts will be made with mandated agencies like the Audit Office of Guyana (AOG), and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA). Even as preparations for first oil are being made, Bynoe stressed that changes would not happen overnight.“Every mile starts with one step. We’re not going to get there tomorrow; we will not get there next week. But we are certain that with the right people, right focus and right emphasis, we will get there,” Bynoe said.Last month, energy expert and scientist Dr. Vincent Adams was appointedDepartment of Energy Head, Dr Mark BynoeExecutive Director of the EPA. His appointment came at a time when questions were being raised about the agency’s abilities to regulate oil companies in Guyana from an environmental standpoint.When Exxon Mobil’s subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd’s (EEPGL’s) submitted its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for its Liza Phase 2 development, an outside consultant was brought in to assist the EPA in reviewing it.A contract to the tune of $40.3 million was awarded to international firm Ramboll US Corporation in order to undertake the review, though the costs were reportedly borne by the oil company.Threat of oil spillsThe EPA did a study of its own, and found that while an oil spill in the Stabroek block was possible, factors such as the location of EEPGL operations combined with the region’s water temperature would minimise the effects.Auditor General Deodat Sharma had previously announced that the Audit Office would be carrying out a number of audits to analyse the capacity of the country’s relevant agencies to protect the environment and endangered species of animals.“As you know, North West (Region One) has the four turtle species. We have to preserve those, because we don’t want to have an oil spill; and it could beIt is important that the ecosystem and its creatures are catered fordangerous. I remember, several years ago, there was the cyanide overspill. It had an effect on the environment in the interior,” Sharma had said.This is a reference to the cyanide spill in Guyana in 1995. In gold mining, cyanide is used as an extracting agent for the ore. In the case of Guyana’s cyanide spill, the highly poisonous material spilled out of a reservoir into the Essequibo River.Guyana does have a draft Oil Spill Contingency Plan, for which consultations were held earlier this year. Besides the obvious need to protect the environment and the livelihoods of persons residing on the coast, there are various international conventions that stipulate countries have a plan for any oil spill.The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres. EEPGL is the operator and hold a 45 per cent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds a 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds a 25 per cent interest.last_img read more

D.A. to seek retrial after jury deadlocks in Spector case

first_imgLOS ANGELES (AP) – A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the murder case against legendary music producer Phil Spector when the jury reported that it was deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting him of killing actress Lana Clarkson at his mansion more than 4 1/2 years ago. The district attorney’s office announced it will seek to retry Spector. “I know the inability to reach a decision is controversial to most,” the jury foreman said later. “Even on the jury there’s deep regret that we were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.” The foreman would not say which way he voted. He was among three jurors who agreed to speak to reporters at the courthouse but did not give their names. The other two said they voted for guilt. The mistrial came after months of trial that left jurors having to decide who pulled the trigger of a revolver – with no fingerprints – that went off in Clarkson’s mouth about 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2003. The jury had met for about 44 hours over 12 days since getting the case on Sept. 10. After the initial deadlock, the judge withdrew one instruction that he decided misstated the law and he gave a controversial new one that gave examples of inferences the jury could draw from the evidence, including the possibility that Spector forced Clarkson to place the gun in her own mouth and it went off. Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler polled the jury and each member agreed that a unanimous decision was not possible. “At this time, I will find that the jury is unable to arrive at a verdict and declare a mistrial in this matter,” the judge said. District Attorney Steve Cooley said prosecutors were disappointed. “We will seek the court’s permission to retry the case and begin immediately to prepare for a retrial,” Cooley said in a statement. A hearing was set for Oct. 3. “We will not rest until justice is done,” said John C. Taylor, a lawyer for Clarkson’s family. Spector and his wife, Rachelle, left the courthouse shortly after the mistrial. Proscutors charged Spector under an implied-malice, second-degree murder theory that did not require premeditation or intent. They called women from his past who claimed he threatened them with guns when they tried to leave his presence, and a chauffeur who testified that on the fateful morning Spector came out of his home with a gun in hand and said, “I think I killed somebody,” while Clarkson’s body sat slumped in a foyer chair behind him. The defense countered with a scientific case, suggesting Spector did not fire the gun and offering forensic evidence that she killed herself either intentionally or by accident. Gunshot residue on her hands, blood spatter on his coat and the trajectory of the bullet were the subjects of weeks of testimony from experts. Spector, 67, rose to fame in the 1960s with the “Wall of Sound” recording technique that changed pop music. Clarkson was best known for her role in Roger Corman’s 1985 cult film “Barbarian Queen.” Their life stories reflected opposite sides of the pop culture landscape. The breadth of Spector’s contributions to popular music in the 1960s and early 1970s was astounding. Early in his career, he produced hits like “He’s a Rebel” and “Be My Baby” that made pop stars of such groups as the Crystals and the Ronettes. Later, after the Beatles shelved the tapes from some of their last recording sessions, he turned them into their final album, 1970’s “Let it Be.” From there, he went on to produce critically acclaimed solo albums by the former Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison. He also co-wrote and produced the Ben E. King standard “Spanish Harlem” and the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” cited by BMI as the most played song in the history of American radio. But by the time he met Clarkson, the music industry wunderkind who struck it rich in his teens and changed the face of pop music had aged into an eccentric millionaire recluse with a castle home in the suburbs. Clarkson, 40, was an ambitious dreamer, a statuesque beauty who idolized Marilyn Monroe, chased fame but was beaten down by rejection. Friends testified that she was at the end of her rope financially and humiliated by having to take the House of Blues hostess job where she met Spector. Jurors heard of her decision to go home with Spector for a drink after the club closed at 2 a.m. Little more than three hours later, she was dead. What happened in those three hours was never clear. Spector did not testify and prosecutors stated no motive for him to kill her other than her apparent decision to leave the house. No prosecution forensic expert was able to place the gun in Spector’s hands. But blood spatter on his coat and in his pants pockets were analyzed by prosecution experts to suggest that showed he was the shooter. Defense experts said he stood too far away to have shot her. Blood spatter, they said, can travel up to six feet. The defendant’s changing appearance during the case was a reminder that this was a show business figure on trial. During pretrial, Spector arrived in a stretch Hummer, his hair frizzed out as if he had put his finger in a light socket. For trial, he adopted a blond pageboy reminiscent of the early Beatles. But his wife, who said she styled his hair, later changed it to a short, tousled and darker look. Rachelle Spector, 27, whose Web site says she is a singer, songwriter and trombone player, married Spector nearly a year ago and was with him every day of trial. The couple usually dressed in color-coordinated outfits. Spector wore long, foppish frock coats with vests, colorful shirts and ties. A diminutive figure, he always wore boots with high cuban-style heels. Mrs. Spector wore stiletto heels and the couple seemed to totter as they walked down the hall flanked by two bodyguards. Jurors saw a different side of the couple when they visited Spector’s home for a court-supervised jury tour. The Spectors stood silently arm in arm, dressed in casual clothes, as jurors surveyed the scene of Clarkson’s death. In the last days of the trial, Mrs. Spector gave a TV interview defending her husband and was scolded by the judge and told to stop talking or face contempt charges. On Tuesday, authorities revealed they were investigating a MySpace.com posting on a “Team Spector” Web site that said “The EVIL Judge should DIE!!!!” and was signed “xoxo Chelle.” A Spector defense attorney said Mrs. Spector denied having anything to do with the posting. Associated Press writers Robert Jablon and Raquel Maria Dillon contributed to this report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Landmark Donegal hotel fails to attract buyer at auction

first_imgOne of Donegal’s best-known hotels has failed to find a new owner at auction.An Ostan, Gaoth Dobhair, went under the hammer at at AllSops auction in Dublin with a knock-down reserve price of €590,000.However, the hotel failed to attract any bidders. The 32 bedroom hotel, which has its own leisure centre, sits on a stunning site of 76 acres at Bunbeg.The property also comes with 6 holiday apartments overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean.When it was opened the hotel was a hugely popular venue for weddings and other functions because of its stunning location.There were hopes that if the hotel is re-opened, it would bring a much-needed jobs boost back into the area. Landmark Donegal hotel fails to attract buyer at auction was last modified: December 14th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more