Irish Examiner - 18/10/05
THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday defended its deferral, for a second time, of a decision on a toxic waste incinerator in Cork Harbour.
An EPA spokesperson said the board needed more time to consider the report of the chairperson of its oral hearing into the Ringaskiddy facility.
A decision was originally expected on July 22. The EPA said it expects to make a decision on whether or not to grant an operating licence to Indaver Ireland for the incinerator on December 31.
“It is a complex report,” the spokesperson said.
“The board needs the time to make this decision.”
A spokeswoman person for Indaver said the company isn’t concerned about this latest delay.
“The issues raised at the oral hearing were complex. We’d rather the EPA considered all the issues in full,” she said.
The Green Party’s Dan Boyle said this latest deferral was proof the EPA has a difficult decision to make.
“The second postponement, if it is to be taken seriously, could only lead to an ultimate refusal of such a licence,” he said.
“To reach any other decision would be unfair and cruel towards the campaigners who have presented a compelling case as to why it should not proceed.
“They should not be left dangling on such a string.”
Chairwoman of Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment (CHASE) Mary O’Leary said her group had presented the EPA with a very strong case.
But she declined to speculate on the outcome of the EPA’s deliberations.
“The EPA has a case where all of the medical evidence indicates health damage from incinerator emissions at or below EU levels,” she said.
“We also know there was never a health impact assessment on the effects of an incinerator on the people of the harbour area.
“That is a legal requirement that hasn’t been fulfilled in this case.
“The proposed site also failed 13 of the 14 World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for site selection which are there to give maximum protection to communities.
“And now they want to build a super-prison on Spike Island even though WHO guidelines say incinerators shouldn’t be built near static populations.”
She said the battle against the incinerator isn’t over.
“This will not be built in Cork Harbour,” she said. “The community is more resilient than they ever have been.” We’re getting stronger.”
CHASE is still waiting for a date in the High Court for a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision to overrule their own inspector’s report and grant planning permission for the incinerator.
CHASE is also taking a case in the European courts.
Meanwhile, the Green Party has collected almost 10,000 signatures calling for the reform of the EPA.
“The EPA try to be people who set the standards, issue the licences and carry out the monitoring. Other countries divide up the roles,” Mr Boyle said.
Arrangements will be made soon to present the petition to the Environment Minister.
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment