(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
MK Dov Henin (Hadash) blasted Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau’s decision to
authorize new oil and gas regulations on Sunday.
The regulations, which
the ministry said will now require environmental certification for certain
drillings, were published three months ago for public viewing, after which the
office received and examined many comments. Incorporating public concerns, the
new regulations will require that all oil and gas drilling requests be brought
before the relevant regional committee, which can, at its discretion, require
documentation that the drilling will be environmentally sound, according to the
The regulations also distinguish between temporary drilling
sites and commercial sites slated for production.
For temporary sites
that will contain exploratory drilling, the company will need to submit its
proposal to the regional committee, going through an approval procedure that
includes a committee hearing and a stage of public objections, the ministry
For commercial phase drilling, in addition to submitting a detailed
plan to the regional committee, the drilling license holder will also need to
file a request for land re-zoning, as commercial production will be occurring on
In Henin’s opinion, however, the government should revamp the
entire 1952 Oil Law, which he labels as “archaic” and asking for
“We cannot provide a green route for oil drilling,” Henin said.
“Such drilling, in the sea and on land, holds enormous environmental risks.
Concessions that the government is now providing are likely to lead to grave
environmental crises, like the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. There cannot be
any supertanker that will repair the tremendous damage created.”
government, he continued must “urgently enact an updated and balanced oil law”
to protect its citizens from oversights and disasters that often occur in
“Oil tycoons will benefit from the new regulations,
but I am afraid that we will all pay dearly,” Henin said.