'Natural gas plant will be hazard in rocket attacks'

"This is the last place that a power station should be established," says Be’er Tuviya Regional Council head.

Be’er Tuviya Regional Council head  Dror Shor 370 (photo credit: (Be’er Tuviya Regional Council)
Be’er Tuviya Regional Council head Dror Shor 370
(photo credit: (Be’er Tuviya Regional Council)
In the aftermath of the barrage of rockets that fell in their region two weeks ago, residents of Be’er Tuviya are demanding that a new natural gas power plant not be built in their midst.
Arguing that the presence of a power station would be extremely risky in the case of future attacks, the Be’er Tuviya Regional Council, the Be’er Tuviya Local Planning and Building Committee and the Kiryat Malachi municipality jointly sent a petition to the High Court of Justice last week to stop the private project, which is being developed by Triple-M Power Plants Ltd.
Dror Shor, the head of the regional council, will attend a meeting of the National Planning and Building Committee on Monday, during which committee members will be discussing the plant alongside representatives from the Energy and Water Ministry, the Planning Administration, the company and the local authorities.
“In the beginning, it was the company Gav Yam, after that it was the group Shikun V’Binui and now we are up against Triple M – any time we succeeded in convincing [them] that this is a dangerous location, a new developer arrives and continues from the same point,” Shor said in a statement released by his office.
“I hope that in the coming discussion, common sense will win and this plan will be shelved once and for all.”
The power plant’s construction was first promoted six years ago when the company IPM, a subsidiary of Shari Arison’s Shikun V’Binui, sought to build the station in cooperation with the firm Gav Yam, according to the Beer Tuviya Regional Council. IPM had planned to establish a 400-megawatt private power plant on 6.2 hectares of land in the Be’er Tuviya industrial zone, but the companies eventually backed out following the opposition of the head of the regional council, the mayor of Kiryat Malachi and local residents. Shikun V’Binui withdrew its intention to construct a plant there and instead sold its holdings to Triple M, the council said.
During the last set of attacks from Gaza, 10 Grad rockets landed in the area, deepening concern among community members that future such attacks could cause leakages, fires and ultimately disaster if they struck a natural gas power plant.
“You can only imagine the exchange of charges and the imposition of liability among parties in the presence of a commission of inquiry, which would be established in the future, should an environmental disaster occur,” last week’s petition argued.
The residents are not wholly against the establishment of a new power plant and would approve the construction of one along the gas pipeline’s route at Road 6, Shor said. Although the council has offered six alternatives to the current plan, none of them have been considered, according to Shor.
“This is the last place that a power plant should be established,” he said.
In response to the complaints of Be’er Tuviya and Kiryat Malachi residents, Triple M said that their plant will be part of the ongoing “natural gas revolution” and that the company is adhering to all the demands of the National Planning and Building Committee – including conducting comprehensive risk surveys for cases of earthquakes and security breaches, as well as analyzing effects on air quality, acoustics, soil pollution and landscape. Only following extensive inspections of the area, as well as examinations of other alternative locations, did the National Planning and Building Council decide favorably upon this plan in 2009, according to Triple M.
Arguing that the plant would be a “blessing to the area,” the company said that it “certainly will not produce damage and/or risk” to the local environment.