Knesset to be given 'green test'

The social-environmental lobby of the Knesset will bring five environment-related bills to be approved for preliminary readings on Wednesday. The government has objected to all of them in some form or other. "Tomorrow, every member of the Knesset will be tested on their commitment to the environment," MK Dov Henin (Hadash) said Tuesday. Henin co-chairs the lobby along with MK Michael Melchior (Labor). The government has recently lauded its environmental deeds, but action speaks for itself, a statement released by the lobby charged. The five bills include:
  • Streamlining energy use in public buildings - a bill that introduces a mechanism to gradually make public buildings more energy efficient.
  • A correction to the law encouraging investments. The correction would exempt polluting factories from receiving government support.
  • Revoking the exemption for building wireless antennas. The bill would close a loophole that allows cellular antennas to be built without a building permit and without public input.
  • Preventing driving on beaches.
  • Local authorities bill (environmental units), to enshrine in law the authority of environmental divisions already working in the field today. "The bills that will be proposed tomorrow are good ones for Israel that don't put a burden on the budget or the economy and even encourage the energy economy and conserving resources," Melchior remarked. "I am shocked by the Treasury's objection to these bills, and there is no doubt that we are talking about a test for the L who will have to decide between good bills for Israel, the environment and the taxpayers, and the objections of the Finance Ministry."