Following ongoing protest from area residents who feared having a natural gas
plant in their Gazan border midst, the Southern District Committee for Planning
and Building decided unanimously not to recommend constructing such a facility
in the Be’er Tuviya Industrial Zone.
The residents had for several years
been protesting the construction of the plant, which was slated to contain 35
tons of natural gas, 9,000 cubic meters of diesel and pipes carrying up to an
additional 170 tons of gas. In March, after a barrage of rockets hit the area,
Be’er Tuviya and Kiryat Malachi residents sent a petition letter to the High
Court of Justice, and followed up in June with a mass protest in front of the
National Committee for Planning and Building. During November’s Operation Pillar
of Defense, after more than 15 rockets hit in the area planned for the facility,
the residents sent a letter to the ministers of defense, interior and public
security, as well as the prime minister, demanding that the government
immediately relocate the plant.
The project was initiated by Shikun
V’Binui six years ago through its former subsidiary IPM Be’er Tuviya, which was
then sold to Triple-M Power Plants Ltd.
“The southern district
committee’s decision is a necessary step, and it is a significant, additional
sign on the way to removing this plan from the agenda,” said Adva Dror,
coordinator of the residents’ campaign. “It was clear that no responsible
parties could tie themselves to a plan to establish a gasfired power plant in
the heart of an industrial area filled with hazardous materials and adjacent to
the second largest concentration of ammonia in Israel.”
Less than a month
before, a Grad rocket hit a logistics structure located only 40 meters from the
area designated for the natural gas plant’s construction, Dror
“We have no doubt that the unanimous decision of the committee
indicates an understanding of planning officials and government representatives
in the southern district that the initiative to construct a plant in the current
place is not in the interest of the public and does not serve the common good,”
Triple-M has continued to assure that it would undertake all
necessary means of environmental protection when constructing the plant,
adhering to the highest safety standards. Asaf Vitman, CEO of IPM Be’er Tuviya,
has likewise emphasized that the plant would be built in accordance with the law
and has noted that plants have been established in many areas throughout the
countries where rockets have fallen.
In response to the southern district
committee decision, Triple-M said its plan to construct the plant has been
approved after public review by the Interior Ministry’s National Infrastructure
“The energy plant that will be established opposite [Moshav]
Timorim is part of the security system of natural gas in Israel, and is being
established on the basis of the strictest European standards,” the company said.
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