The Deputy Minister of Health, Yakov Litzman, and the Minister of Environmental Protection, Avi Gabbay, today attended an additional tour of Haifa with the Ministry’s Director General, David Leffler, the outgoing Director General of the Ministry of Health, Arnon Afek, and the Mayor of Haifa, Yona Yahav
During the tour, Oil Refineries Ltd. (ORL or BAZAN) undertook to withdraw the appeal to the National Council, and not to increase production.
The tour was held in the framework of work on the program to reduce air pollution and environmental hazards in Haifa Bay.
Minister Gabbay, Deputy Minister Litzman, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and personnel from their offices today conducted an additional tour of Haifa Bay, and visited the plants of ORL and of Petroleum & Energy Infrastructures Ltd. (PEI), in order to be closely familiar with industry in the area and the issues affecting residents’ quality of life.
Minister Gabbay: “In the framework of the discussion with the CEO of ORL, Arik Yaari, and the Chairman of the Board, Ovadia Eli, we received clarifications regarding operational requirements in the outline plan, an undertaking not to increase production, to continue to reduce emissions and to adopt advanced technologies that exist in the word, and it was agreed that they will withdraw their appeal at the National Planning and Building Council regarding expansion of ORL, and that all parties will agree to adhere to the Regional Council’s original ruling, according to which we will continue to reduce pollution in Haifa Bay. We informed ORL that in the framework of the program for reducing air pollution in Haifa Bay, together with other plants, they will later also receive new, stricter instruction regarding emissions – we will work on each plant and each chimney, and issue new instruction regarding the reduction of emissions from the plants in the area.
In the tour of PEI, we met the company’s CEO, Rafi Taterka, and we were presented with data showing that today there are no dangerous benzene emissions, thanks to their actions to comply with the Ministry’s instructions. We need to deal with the proximity of the plants to the population, as the risk there remains, and we will also continue to hold discussions with them to find an economic solution for the transfer of the tanks from the Kiryat Haim region, where they are currently located.”
Deputy Minister of Health Yakov Litzman: “In the tour that I undertook today in Haifa with the Minister of Environmental Protection Avi Gabbay, we surveyed the activity of the industrial plants, with the objective of solving the problem of pollution and preventing morbidity in Haifa Bay and its environs. We will continue to intensively monitor this issue in order to prevent industrial emissions, using advanced technology, to safeguard the health of the citizens of Israel.”
Mayor of Haifa Yona Yahav: “The government of Israel has accepted the challenge, and at last, is showing responsibility for the health and quality of life of residents of the Haifa metropolitan area. The tour I undertook this morning with the Minister of Environmental Protection, Avi Gabbay, and the Deputy Minister of Health, Yakov Litzman, is of decisive importance for tomorrow’s debate in the National Appeals Committee. The Ministers succeeded in persuading the CEO of ORL to withdraw the appeal that they submitted, leaving for discussion at the Committee tomorrow only the City of Haifa’s appeal, calling for no new plants except where these replace old plants, on a “new modern plant to replace an old polluting plant” basis. This is a huge achievement for the struggle led by the City of Haifa to reduce air pollution in the area. The CEO of ORL even declared before the Ministers that from now on, there will be no increase in production and in emission of pollutants. I see great importance in the fact that the entire senior leadership of the Ministry of Health attended the tour this morning to discuss morbidity and to formulate a working plan, which demonstrates the government’s seriousness in the struggle to decrease pollution and reduce morbidity in the area.”