The High Court has officially dismissed a petition from green groups against a January government decision about Dead Sea royalty requirements, Israel Chemicals announced on Monday.
After a long-time standoff between the Finance Ministry and Israel chemicals over the costs of a full salt harvest in the Dead Sea's Pool No. 5, where water levels have been dangerously rising, Finance Ministry officials and representatives of Dead Sea Works – an Israel Chemicals subsidiary – reached an agreement on December 29, which was then approved by the government on January 1 in the weekly cabinet meeting. Under the agreement, Dead Sea Works would need to contribute NIS 3.04 billion, 80 percent of the project's total cost. The state would fund the remaining NIS 760m., and its share of potash sales would rise from 5% to 10%, with the additional royalties flowing into a Dead Sea rehabilitation fund.
Just hours after the cabinet had approved a royalty budget for Dead Sea Works operations on January 1, environmental activism groups Adam Teva V'Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) and the Movement for Quality Government pledged to file a High Court petition against the Israeli government, the Finance Ministry and Dead Sea Works, a subsidiary of Israel Chemicals.
The organizations had argued that the decision goes against the public interest and allows for continued exploitation of the Dead Sea without proper environmental protection.