KKL-JNF’s Board of Directors, led by Chairman Efi Stenzler, decided this week to oppose plans to extract shale oil in the Adullam region.
The Board unreservedly adopted the report by the professional committee established by KKL-JNF to investigate the matter and headed by Board member and well-known leading environmental activist Dr. Orr Karassin.
It is already widely known that the American-owned company IEI has been granted an exploration license by those responsible for oil at Israel’s Energy and Water Ministry, and that it has received authorization to establish a pilot plant in order to examine the economic feasibility of extracting oil from kerogen shale in the Adullam region.
KKL-JNF manages 51% of the area covered by the license accorded to IEI, including sensitive areas of forest and natural woodland of great scenic and ecological importance, such as British Park, Masua Forest and Adullam Park, which was presented to the State of Israel by KKL-JNF in honor of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State.
In the words of KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler: “As Israel’s largest ‘green’ Zionist organization, we have concluded that the advantages of this project are outweighed by the damage that it is liable to cause to the natural environment. KKL-JNF regards the conservation of the Adullam region to be of critical importance, as the area possesses rare and remarkable environmental, agricultural and archeological qualities that also play an important role in tourism.
Dr. Karassin, who chairs KKL-JNF’s Committee for Sustainable Development, said: “KKL-JNF supports, encourages and invests in the development of renewable energy. We believe that large scale shale oil extraction is liable to frustrate the promotion of sustainable solutions as an alternative to oil. Before the shale oil deposits are developed, the State of Israel must consider the overall consequences of its energy policy and weigh the possibility of developing alternatives to oil. In addition, it must consider and examine what the shale oil project will involve in the way of greenhouse gas emissions, in view of the fact that, in various international forums, Israel has undertaken to reduce these emissions by the year 2020.”
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