A victory for the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) in its struggle against the proposed railway route from Tel Aviv to Eilat. The Southern District Committee has ruled that Israel Railways must complete an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to study the implications of both the proposed route and the transport of hazardous materials on the train. The current proposal would have the train transporting many dangerous substances through the center of Be’er Sheva, just 25 meters from residential areas.
The Committee has said it is convinced of the importance of testing and evaluating the environmental impact of the train and the transport of hazardous materials during the design phase. As such, it has instructed the developer to complete an EIA in accordance with Israeli guidelines.
MoEP Director General David Leffler: "There is no reason that hundreds of tons of hazardous materials should pass through the center of Be’er Sheva, right near the Daled neighborhood, and that there shouldn’t even be a public discussion about the implications, or about ways to prevent a hazardous materials event. We are happy that our refusal to back down on this issue resulted in this decision."