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Irish Times: ‘Intense pressure’ on EPA to issue licence

Aine Ryan
Apr 27, 2007

Ireland’s “close political-corporate climate” will put “intense pressure” on the Environmental Protection Agency to issue an integrated pollution prevention licence, according to BrId McGarry, a landowner in ongoing High Court proceedings against Shell E&P Ireland.

“It is clear the Environmental Protection Agency, like An Bord Pleanala, is also subject to intense pressure to assist developments of this nature,” said Ms McGarry in her submission on the eighth day of the agency’s oral hearing into the issuing of a licence. She was referring to the planning board’s overturning of its inspector’s advice, which stated the site was unsuitable.

Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association chairman Eddie Diver said Shell never sought local fishermen ‘s expertise. The site of the refinery’s outflow pipe, which will release treated contaminants into the bay, is a key concern.

Mr Diver was cross-examining Dr Malcolm Brian, a marine hydrodynamics engineer, Dr David Phillips, a marine pollution control expert, and Philip Webb, a production chemist.

“The proposed level of onshore treatment of the contaminated wastewaters is unusually extensive, involving the attainment of the Irish Environmental Quality Standards prior to the wastewater discharge being made,” said Dr Phillips.

The absence of the EPA inspector who granted the provisional licence, of Mayo County Council, An Bord Pleanala and Health and Safety Authority officials was again questioned.

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