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Mayo Advertiser: Shell responds to terminal licence objectors

Current Publication Date: 13/04/2007
by Fiona McGarry

Shell E&PI has refuted a number of objections to a controversial decision to award it an operating licence for the Corrib gas terminal.

The company has, this week, lodged a submission with the Environmental Protection Agency in which it responds to claims made by a number of objectors to the licence for the €900 million project.

Among the objectors to the licence are Shell to Sea, the Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association, An Taisce and local priest Fr Michael Nallen.

In its submission, Shell rejects claims made by Shell to Sea branches in Castlebar and Galway, An Taisce, the EIFA, the Friends of Rossport, and a number of individual objectors. In the document, seen by the Mayo Advertiser, the company says it will address these and other issues during the course of next week’s oral hearing.

Among the points which Shell E&PI comments on is the issue of cold venting. Concerns raised by Castlebar Friends of Shell of Sea are rejected, with the company saying that emissions of gases such as benzene will be well within air quality standards. The company also challenges the claim that the Environmental Impact Statement submitted with the terminal planning application was incomplete. It has told the EPA that the decision to cold vent “small quantities of gas” was made on foot of consultations during the planning process.

Responding to a submission made by An Taisce, suggesting that the Bellanaboy site does not comply with “international codes of practice for siting gas processing terminals”, Shell E&PI points out that there are no such guidelines. The company says that the codes, to which An Taisce refers, relate only to pipelines, and that the company has applied them where appropriate.

Shell’s response comes just days before the opening of an oral hearing on the awarding of an Integrated Pollution Prevention licence.

Shell had previously made an objection to some of the 85 conditions that the EPA proposed, in its preliminary decision, to issue the licence. It’s understood that the company objects to the wording, rather than the substance of the conditions.

A spokesperson for the EPA has confirmed that the agency will still accept submissions on the licensing decision next Monday April 16, the first day of the hearing. The Broadhaven Bay hotel in Belmullet is the venue for the oral hearing, which is set to run for two weeks. The EPA’s decision to hold an oral hearing has been welcomed by both Shell to Sea and the Corrib gas partners.

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