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Geelong Advertiser (Australia):Terminals rejects Shell similarities

Geelong Advertiser (Australia); Terminals rejects Shell similarities

“On Friday a former CSIRO scientist told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal that emissions of chemicals from Shell Corio may have contributed to the deaths of four former Geelong Grammar teachers.”

Tuesday 6 September 2005

JEFF WHALLEY

THE COMPANY pushing to establish a chemical storage plant in Corio has distanced itself from a rising controversy over claims of excessive emissions from Shell Corio.

On Friday a former CSIRO scientist told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal that emissions of chemicals from Shell Corio may have contributed to the deaths of four former Geelong Grammar teachers.

Dr Chris Mardon said he believed Shell’s high level of emissions precluded the establishment of any more chemical facilities in the region.

But yesterday Jeremy Gobbo, QC, representing Terminals Pty Ltd, told VCAT any excesses by Shell were not a reflection of his client.

“Terminals cannot be tarred with the Shell brush,” he said.

“If Shell has been in default or was not complying (with regulations), these sins should not be visited upon Terminals,” Mr Gobbo said.

He made the comments yesterday during a presentation to a VCAT Planning and Environment list hearing between Terminals Pty Ltd and the City of Greater Geelong.

The city is attempting to prevent the company constructing a butadiene storage facility at 40 Wharf Road, Corio.

Joe Cicero, a member of Geelong Good Life Group that opposes the facility, told the tribunal he believed EPA techniques for measuring levels of dangerous chemicals such as butadiene were inaccurate.

Mr Cicero said evidence gained by the group showed the EPA had used the wrong techniques when measuring butadiene and there was far more of the chemical in the local “airshed” than recorded.

Mr Gobbo responded that he had evidence Shell produced a very little amount of the chemical.

“Shell is not a butadiene hotspot. The background levels of butadiene in the Port Phillip airshed and around Corio are less than or equal to one part per billion a level which is at the margin of detectability,” he said.

Mr Gobbo also rejected claims that Terminals would move the entire Coode Island operations to Corio.

“There is no evidence whatsoever to support this baseless and inflammatory assertion, in fact Terminals recently signed a new 22 year lease . . .,” he said.

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