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Irish Examiner: Public hearing into Shell gas refinery to open: latest

16/04/2007 – 7:43:31 AM

The state body charged with protecting the environment will today open a public hearing into objections to the contentious Shell gas refinery in Co Mayo.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already given the oil giant its seal of approval by proposing to issue a pollution control licence for the operation, but strong opposition to the decision means it must hold an oral hearing into the objections.

Among those who will outline their concerns are parish priest Fr Michael Allen, An Taisce, Erris Inshore Fisherman’s Association and local residents.

The EPA proceedings at the Broadhaven Bay Hotel in Belmullet are expected to last between two to three weeks.

EPA chairman Frank Clinton and vice-chairman Andrew Fanning will form the two-man panel adjudicating the process.

Witnesses can be cross-examined by Shell and other objectors when they give evidence.

Mr Clinton will then draw up a report for the EPA board who will decide whether or not to uphold the objections.

It could take several months before the EPA concludes its decision on the proposed issue of a pollution control licence.

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