Friday, May 20, 2005

Bucket Brigade challenge CEPSA reply

The Bay Bucket Brigade has harshly criticised Cepsa after a senior official at the local refinery rejected a scientific study that found high levels of toxic chemicals and heavy metals in the air.

The environmental group claimed Cepsa was denying the facts for fear that it could be left facing a hefty compensation bill by people whose health had suffered as a result of pollution.

Jesús Mota, head of environmental protection at the refinery, had described the study by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) (Spanish council for scientific research - Spain's most senior scientific investigative body), as “alarmist.”

The data in the CSIC’s report, he said, had been taken out of context.

But the local Bucket Brigade said Cepsa’s response was predictable and typical of a polluter that had been “caught out and cornered”.

“Internationally, the Bucket Brigade is very familiar with this stance adopted by industries once they have been found out,” the group said in a statement.

Among other issues, the CSIC report noted excessive levels in Puente Mayorga of Benzene, a highly toxic substance known to cause cancer.

According to the report, Benzene levels in the area of Cepsa plant exceeded by up to six times the safety benchmarks set by the European Union.

Months before the CSIC report was published, the Bucket Brigade – using its own sampling methods – had also alerted the public as to the high levels of Benzene in Puente Mayorga.

Under European Union rules, the petrochemical industry must completely eliminate the presence of Benzene in the air by 2010, a move that is indicative of the dangers this substance poses.

In an interview with Europa Sur, Sr Mota had stressed that Cepsa complied fully with existing regulations and that annual averages of Benzene emissions were well within current parameters set by law.

But the Bucket Brigade described the statement as “folly.”

Annual averages, it suggested, hid significant peaks in emission levels of this highly carcinogenic substance.

“Whatever annual levels the refinery is claiming to comply with, the reality is that Benzene should not be found outside the plant and steps must be taken to do something about this now,” the Bucket Brigade statement said.

“The industry and Spanish authorities will ignore this at their peril.”

Related Links:

20 May 2005 -

13 May 2005 - CSIC report confirms high levels of pollutants in the Bay of Gibraltar

18 May 2005 - IU express concern in Andalusian Parliament

What is the Bay Bucket Brigade?

Jan 2005 - Bay Bucket Brigade hits 2500!


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