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Irish Times: Claims made by Shell on gas cold-venting an ‘insult’

Anton McNulty,
Published: Apr 21, 2007

Suggestions that Shell E&P Ireland held a series of formal consultation meetings with residents living near the Bellanaboy site regarding the decision to cold-vent the gas rather than flare it have been described as an “insult to the intelligence of the people”.

On the fifth day of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) oral hearing into the issuing of an Integrated Pollution Prevention Licence (IPPC) at the Broadhaven Bay Hotel in Belmullet, Agnes McLaverty, of Shell, said there had been a series of public exhibitions in Rossport, Belmullet, Ballina and other areas where the issue of cold-venting and flaring was raised.

She was responding to the chairman of the hearing, Frank Clinton, who asked Shell representatives to provide detailed documentation of a consultation process it said it carried out with Mayo County Council and the community. She said they chose cold-venting to ease residents’ concerns over the visual impact.

Cold-venting of gas, usually methane, entails its release directly into the environment without being burned.

However, appellants said that cold-venting was rarely mentioned at meetings and the majority of the people did not know what it was. One appellant, Anthony Irwin, claimed that the documentation cited by Shell as proof that it had conducted a consultation process was an “insult to the intelligence of the people”. In his opinion, the main document issued for planning approval was incomplete and flawed.

The hearing resumes on Tuesday.

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