Monday 26 March 2007

EPA sets date for Corrib terminal oral hearing

The Environmental Protection Agency's oral hearing into its licensing of the Corrib gas terminal has been set for April 16th.
The hearing will be held by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff in the Broadhaven Bay Hotel, Belmullet, following 12 submissions in relation to its preliminary licensing of the project.
Corrib's lead developer, Shell E&P Ireland, An Taisce, local priest Fr Michael Nallen, the Erris Inshore Fishermen's Association and individual members of the Shell to Sea campaign were among the 12 appellants, following the Environment Protection Agency's issuing of preliminary integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) approval in January this year.
The IPPC licence for the refinery is one of a number of consents and procedures handled by different State agencies in relation to the €900 million project. It addresses emissions and the environmental management of the facility.
The EPA's preliminary approval states it is "satisfied that emissions from the refinery, when operated in accordance with the conditions of the proposed licence, will not adversely affect human health or the environment and will meet all relevant national and EU standards". To date, the EPA has not overturned an interim decision of this nature.
In a related development, the North-Western Regional Fisheries Board expects that it will be a fortnight before it has results back from tests taken near the Bellanaboy terminal on Thursday last.
A "tar-like" run-off into a stream feeding the Bellanaboy river - which in turn runs into Carrowmore lake - was reported to Mayo County Council by residents late last week, and up to 30 people occupied the terminal site for an hour on Thursday to protest over continuing concerns about water quality.
Although Shell E&P Ireland has described the report as "spurious", the fisheries board has said it is investigating the situation as the affected stream runs into Bellanaboy river and Carrowmore lake.
Carrowmore lake supplies drinking water to 10,000 people, and the proximity of the terminal to it is the basis for An Taisce's objection to the EPA's integrated pollution prevention and control licence. Mayo County Council was unavailable for comment on the report.
Lorna Siggins
© 2007 The Irish Times

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