Peretz demands NIS 70m. for ammonia tank transfer

Environment Minister says intent to cut greenhouse gas emissions project from budget is "ridiculous."

By
May 9, 2013 18:49
2 minute read.
Haifa Chemicals ammonia tanker

Haifa Chemicals ammonia tanker. (photo credit: haifahaifa.co.il)

During a Wednesday night meeting, Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz demanded that Finance Minister Yair Lapid allocate the necessary NIS 70 million to transfer Haifa’s ammonia tanker to the South, Peretz said Thursday.

Speaking at the Pratt Prize environmental journalism awards in Tel Aviv on Thursday, Peretz said the NIS 70m.

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would be critical to evacuating the Haifa ammonia plant and bringing it to a much safer, less populated region in the South.

The 17,000-ton ammonia tank became an increasingly hot-button issue after a Texas fertilizer tank exploded last month, but it has long plagued the country’s environmentalists as a potential threat to the Haifa Bay region.

While the government decided last year that the plant must close and move to an unpopulated portion of the Negev by 2017, Peretz declared two weeks ago that he would not renew the plant’s license after 2016. As his ministry will be coordinating and leading the evacuation of the container, the NIS 70m. budget is essential to establishing the necessary infrastructure in the Negev and encouraging developers to build the plant, according to Peretz.

During his meeting with Lapid, Peretz also attacked the Finance Ministry’s intent to cut the greenhouse gas emissions reduction program from the future budget. Peretz called such a move “ridiculous,” noting that just because the country had cleaner natural gas, it did not mean a program for monitoring greenhouse gases was no longer necessary.

“I can understand budgetary claims, but it is difficult to hear claims stating that there is entirely no need to clean the air,” Peretz said, noting that reducing greenhouse gas emissions actually benefitted the economy.

Under the program, the Environmental Protection Ministry provides support to 208 greenhouse gas emissions projects, totaling NIS 106m., the ministry explained.

Among these projects are improvements to air conditioning systems in hospitals and hotels, intelligent lighting systems in local authorities, and replacement of electric boilers with solar-powered systems.

These projects are expected to lead to a reduction of 450,00 tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2020, equivalent to the amount of pollution that a city the size of Herzliya generates from electricity consumption each year, the ministry said. In total, these changes would bring an annual savings of NIS 100m.

“Eliminating Israel’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions will first and foremost damage the credibility of the State of Israel toward its commitments to international forums,” Peretz said earlier this week. “Apart from the damage to international credibility, this will cause great damage to both municipal and industrial systems.”


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