29/04/2015

Part of Eilat Beach that was Closed for 50 Years is Returning to the Public
Eilat Reef
 
​A portion of the Eilat beach that was occupied by the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) and has been closed to the public for 50 years will soon be accessible. A committee that was established in the wake of the oil spill in the Arava in December 2014 has decided that the beach, which is near the Dolphin Reef, will be open to visitors. The pipeline that burst causing the massive spill belongs to the EAPC. A review of lands used and/or owned by the EAPC, including the EAPC beach, was part of an Arava rehabilitation plan that was approved after the spill.

The review of EAPC lands was done by an inter-ministerial committee headed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP). Other members include representatives from the Ministries of: Interior, Finance, and National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources.

The committee found that the EAPC does not use about one third of the coastal area under its concession. In the first phase, which must receive governmental approval, some 200 meters of beach will be returned to the public. In the next phase, more of the beach will be made accessible, including areas of unique marine biodiversity and spectacular coral reefs, which will be placed under the "protection" of the MoEP and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

Under the rehabilitation plan, the "polluter pays" principle will be in effect, meaning the EAPC will fund much of the rehabilitation, and will pay for additional manpower to treat contaminated soils and to revitalize populations of animal species that were harmed in the oil spill.

In addition, the plan will ensure the completion of an MoEP preparedness plan for future hazardous materials events, and a special team will be established to examine all environmental aspects of the EAPC’s activities on land and on beaches.