The Malta Independent 9 December 2019, Monday

Metsola leads petition to EU to remove risk to residents in Marsaxlokk; government replies

Malta Independent Tuesday, 18 February 2014, 17:10 Last update: about 6 years ago

Adds government reply

Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola has submitted a petition to the European Parliament urging the European Commission to investigate the risk to the public’s safety by the Government’s plans to berth a floating liquefied gas storage unit close to shore.

“Over the past weeks and days I have met with many concerned citizens of the towns and villages that are most affected by this proposed project and they cannot understand why these unnecessary risks are being taken in this manner. In contrast, other EU Member States with similar projects, such as those off the Italian ports of Livorno and Ancona, have ensured that safety is paramount and that the legitimate concerns of residents were addressed by stationing the depot a safe distance away from them, with proper security zones around the vessel. None of the above safety provisions are envisaged in the Maltese Government's proposed intentions,” said MEP Metsola.

Dr Metsola quoted the EU’s SEVESO II Directive which lays down that Member States shall prohibit the use of any establishment, installation or storage facility, where the measures taken by the operator for the prevention and mitigation of major accidents are seriously deficient saying that petitioners were understandably concerned that the project will violate the Directive.

Marsaxlokk bay already houses a concentration of power generation and fuel storage facilities as well as very busy in-bay shipping movements of the Malta Freeport. Only a preliminary Quantitative Risk Assessment has so far been carried out and no Maritime Risk Assessment has been carried out.

“The risks associated with the implementation of the project of conversion of power facilities to gas would be greatly mitigated if the gas storage for this plant be moved to a secure location and a safe distance from residential areas, outside the bay. As the only Maltese Member of the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee I had a duty and a responsibility to act,” added Dr Metsola.

Dr Metsola said that the petition has got the backing of Nationalist MPs and Nationalist MEP candidates for the European Parliament elections.

The general public is also encouraged to show their support for the petition which can be signed at

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Petition-on-Marsaxlokk-Gas-Storage-Unit

In reply, the government said that the process that leads to the reduction of energy tariffs is on track and the Opposition does not want to accept this, and is trying to hinder the operation, the government said in a statement.

The project for the generation of electricity with the use of gas is based on EU directives and Maltese law. The move by the Nationalist Party to present a motion in the EC is because the opposition is against a reduction in energy rates and aimed to cause damage to Maltese families and businesses.

The opposition’s aim is to instil fear because it knows the government is on track in its plans, and the only way out for the PN is to create obstacles.
 

 
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