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Irish Times: EPA confirms Bellanaboy licence to Shell

13/11/2007  13:08
Charlie Taylor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed it has granted a licence to Shell Ireland for the operation of a gas refinery and combustion plant at Bellanaboy Bridge, Co Mayo.

The agency says the licence contains more than 90 conditions relating to the environmental management and operation of the proposed installation.

Some 9.9 million standard cubic metres of natural gas per day will be processed at the refinery from the Corrib fluid for export.

Shell Ireland was a granted a licence for the operation of a gas refinery and combustion plant at Bellanaboy Bridge, Co Mayo, by the Environmental Protection Agency The licence decision has angered protesters who have campaigned against the proposed development. Last week up to 300 people staged a sitdown demonstration at the plant as they tried to stop trucks entering the compound.

A spokesperson for Shell to Sea told this morning that its supporters were disappointed by the EPA’s decision but had expected it.

“The remit which the EPA has was very narrow, so to some extent it had its hands tied, so therefore we’re not surprised at its decision,” said Mary Corduff.

“The only positive aspect out of all of this is that we can now use the EPA’s decision as a stepping stone to take the case to Europe to be debated.

The new licence provides for the processing of natural gas that will be exported to the Bord Gáis distribution network.

In a statement issued this morning, the EPA said it was satisfied that emissions from the refinery – when operated in accordance with the conditions of the licence – “will not adversely affect human health or the environment and will meet all relevant national and EU standards.”

The EPA said it accepted recommendations to strengthen the controls relating to the risk of pollution to Carramore Lake, to increase the monitoring of the marine waters around the discharge point, to enhance the level of noise monitoring at nearby noise-sensitive locations, and to provide greater control of methanol releases.

The EPA said it would carry out its own independent inspection and monitoring of emissions from the installation, and provide public access to all monitoring results and reports.

Approximately 450 people are currently working at the Bellanaboy terminal site and this is expected to rise to over 700 by the middle of 2008.

Corrib Gas Partners welcomed the EPA’s decision saying that it was a significant milestone towards the provision of indigenous natural gas from the Corrib field.

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