The Environmental Protection Ministry ordered the Eilat- Ashkelon Pipeline
Company to cease all operations on the oil pipeline at Nahal Zin – into which
1.5 million liters of oil gushed last Wednesday – until a new emergency plan is
approved by the ministry’s southern district to make up for the company’s
cleanup negligence, the ministry announced on Thursday morning.
was delivered in a letter to the company dated July 4, sent from Environment
Ministry Southern District Manager, Guy Samet, to EAPC Director-General Yair
Vida and instructing work on the line to stop for the time being.
Tractor causes 1.5-million-liter jet fuel spill in Negev
rehabilitating the pipeline last Wednesday, a tractor struck a portion of it,
causing heavy fuel oil to spurt into the northern Negev Nahal Zin and the
surrounding nature reserve. At the time of the incident, Samet told The
Jerusalem Post that this was “one of the largest soil contaminations to occur in
the last year in Israel,” and would require a huge amount of work to
“This spill caused great environmental damage to the nature
reserve,” the letter states.
As per a clause in water regulations
established in 2006, operators are required to deal with oil extractions,
shutting down valves, fixing oil pipelines, excavating polluted sediment and
treating contaminated water on their sites.
However, during the time of
this incident, the EAPC was not performing these requirements sufficiently, the
“Accordingly, we are requiring the company to stop its
works on the pipeline until the preparation of an emergency plan that is
approved by the southern district,” it concludes, noting that only then can the
rehabilitation operations continue.
In response to the Environment
Ministry’s letter, the EAPC emphasized the fact that it was not responsible for
the damage in the first place.
“It is worth mentioning that it wasn’t the
EAPC that hit the pipeline,” an EAPC spokeswoman said. “However, immediately
following the incident, EAPC worked to restore the area to its original
As always, EAPC operates according to Environmental
Protection Ministry guidelines.
It is the intention of the EAP to claim a
refund for all expenses from the body responsible for damaging the
Green Movement Co-Chairman Prof. Alon Tal of Ben- Gurion
University said that the event was a testament to the problematic administration
of Israel’s big infrastructural bodies in general.
“It’s not just EAPC,”
he told the Post on Thursday afternoon.
“There is an insouciance with
which Israel’s large infrastructural institutions address the most sensitive and
valuable natural resources in our country, which is intolerable.
is] a sense of entitlement and obtuse disregard for the holiness of the holy
land,” Tal continued. “Rather than looking at this as a sacred duty to nurture
and protect the jewels of our collective national grounds, there is a crass
sense of entitlement and aggressiveness in the crafting of both infrastructures
and the solutions for cleanup, which have to change.”