The government must do a better job in putting environmental regulations under
one umbrella and creating a clearer, longer-term vision as to how new policies
will apply to industry, leaders from the field agreed on Tuesday.
not against laws to protect the environment, but we are talking about a good
measures,” said Amir Hayek, director of the Manufacturers Association of Israel.
“You know, we also have kids growing up in this country.”
participating in a panel session at this year’s environmental law conference at
the Tel Aviv Hilton on Environment 2050: Economy, Environment, Society – Trends
and Challenges. The conference was organized by the Yuval Levy & Co. law
firm, the Environmental Services Company, the BMP Bnai Moran company and a
number of other academic and professional sponsors.
Industry leaders may
be critical about the ways the government has imposed new regulations upon them,
but is wrong to pit industry against environmental protection in any way,
according to Hayek.
“The government itself has to find that fine
equilibrium between environment and industry,” he said.
pays billions of shekels each year in taxes that provide for the welfare of the
country’s citizens, lately the government has been slamming the companies with
too many new regulations all at once, something that is encouraging companies to
go abroad, Hayek said. “We are now in a situation where everything is coming
together, all these blows at once. It’s not comfortable – it’s
Such “exaggerated regulatory” measures can threaten small
and medium-sized companies even more so than large ones, and ultimately cause
firms to shut down when they cannot meet the slew of new requirements suddenly
levied upon them, Hayek said.
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“It’s a lose-lose situation at the end of
the day,” he said.
Shuli Nezer, deputy director-general for industries
and licensing at the Environmental Protection Ministry, acknowledged that the
past three years have been “very intensive” regarding industry
“It’s because we have a very dedicated minister of great
aspirations and he was really successful during this period of time in taking
things that were waiting and pending” and bringing them to fruition, she
While industry leaders criticized what they said was the
disorganized state of Israeli environmental regulation of industry, they did
have praise for Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan. Asher Greenbaum,
deputy director of Israel Chemicals, praised Erdan’s recent statements that
environmental regulations concerning industry will be similar to those
worldwide, particularly in OECD countries.
“I think that this is
something that the industry wished for throughout the years,” Greenbaum said.
“The industry always supported environmental protection that would be
As environmental standards become increasingly strict,
Greenbaum encouraged industry leaders to always aim to achieve more than what is
required of them, and to take responsibility for their products until they
“I am responsible for taking the material back and until
then I am not going to let go of this responsibility,” he said.
problem industries face in getting licenses is that environmental clearances do
not only fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Ministry
and instead involve at least 10 other administrations, according to Ziva Patir,
vice president of international standardization at Better Place.
types of environmental factors that might affect industry construction should be
integrated under unified legislation, with one governmental body controlling all
the permits, Greenbaum said.
“We would also like to see everything in
Israel under one umbrella, under one regulator, so that when industry receives a
permit it would know that it received a permit,” he said.
hierarchy among local and national authorities presents problems regarding
environmental regulation enforcement, Nezer agreed.
“We also believe we
have to improve the service we give industries,” she said. “We’re talking about
a one-stop shop, one body that will deal with all the different factors of a
In addition, the government must make sure it is looking
far into the future, according to the industry leaders.
“As an industry
we want a regulatory horizon,” Hyek said. “We want to see where we’re going, see
long-term planning for 20-30 years, and not planning that is for the lifespan of
this or another government.”
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