Monday, October 03, 2005

ESG congratulate regional Government

Junta moves to control bay emissions

Environmental Safety Group (ESG) and the Bucket Brigade have congratulated the Junta de Andalucia for demanding that all industries in the Bay make immediate operational changes to dramatically reduce emissions.

An ESG spokesman said:

“The regional government wants to strengthen the controls, and force industry to use fuels which have less negative impact on the atmosphere. It has established measures to reduce with immediate effect, the levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2) being put out by industry to fall within levels stipulated by the EU Directives.

For Power Stations it has outlawed the use of fuels with sulphur content greater than 1% by weight. This measure alone should see a considerable reduction in the levels of sulphur dioxide in the air. If SO2 levels continue to be exceeded the relevant Environment Agency will have powers to reduce these which could include the forced reduction of electricity production by the offending power station. Under these new laws, industry is asked to reduce excessive pollution incidences associated with upsets in production, or on start up and stop needs, by adopting cleaner fuels and better operating controls with particular emphasis on particulates and sulphur dioxide.

For the Refinery the Junta stipulates that preference should be given to the consumption of natural gas as fuel and it prohibits the use of any other gaseous fuel with sulphur content greater than 0.24%.

Furthermore, all emissions will be come under close supervision with the installation of web cams to survey the use of flaring and real time monitors to feed data directly back to the authorities. All these measures are expected to be in place as from the beginning of October when medical tests will also start on selected sectors of the populations living close to the industrial complex.

These are the steps that many, including the Bucket Brigade have been calling for, for some time now. To see the Junta enforce these regulations must be seen as a huge and positive step forward in fighting the disgraceful and harmful levels of pollution to have existed in this zone for so long. It shows that increased pressure from the population on both sides is working but must be maintained.

When the ESG and GONHS first launched its complaint to the European Commission nearly three years ago it was against a backdrop of denial by industry and Spanish authorities. This important development now needs to be supported by appropriate actions taken by the industries and this time there will be even more people watching to ensure that it does.”


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