The Centre on Saturday ruled out reconsideration of the recent Environment Ministry notification exempting exploration for hydro carbon projects from prior clearance.
The Centre recently amended the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 for hydrocarbon projects, allowing it to bypass prior clearance and public consultation for such projects. The amendment, dated January 16, was passed without a draft notification as mandated.
The move has apparently made the Tamil Nadu government apprehensive about the Centre using the amended notification to pave the way for the proposed hydrocarbon projects in the ecologically sensitive Thanjavur and Cauvery delta region.
Earlier this week, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, urging them to restore the status quo of making prior environment clearance and public consultation mandatory for such projects. “The status quo ante may be maintained for Cauvery delta region as it is an ecologically sensitive zone and necessary amendment may be issued to restore the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 mandating prior environmental clearance and public consultation for off-shore and on-shore oil and gas exploration, development & production projects and categorize them under Category A for Cauvery Delta area,” the Chief Minister said in his letters.
The Opposition DMK and other parties have also demanded withdrawal of the notification. A meeting of Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu convened by DMK President M K Stalin also adopted a resolution on Friday opposing the Centre's notification.