Update 2 | PN leader accuses environment authority of hastening new power station consultation process

Difficult to consider Environment and Resources Authority’s 10-day extension as a ‘sincere move’, Simon Busuttil says • Labour says PN leader's objection is due to him 'supporting the use of heavy fuel oil'

ERA said that the decision to extend the consultation period was unanimous
ERA said that the decision to extend the consultation period was unanimous

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has insisted that a 40-day consultation period on the new gas-fired power station and the LNG tanker are not sufficient and “a reasonable” timeframe should be allocated.

Earlier today, Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) chairman Victor Axiak informed Busuttil that the public consultation period would be extended by 10 days, following an extension requested by Busuttil himself.

The PN has argued that the period allocated was not enough to sift through the 15,000 pages pertaining to safety reports of the power station and the Integrated Prevention and Pollution Control (IPPC) application.

In a fresh letter addressed to Axiak, Busuttil said the allocated extra 10 days were not enough to consider the extension as “a since gesture” on behalf of the ERA.

“The mere extension of 10 days confirms that the Authority simply wants to speed through the final approval and discourage people from participating in the process,” Busuttil wrote.

“If the Authority has already decided to approve the permit without even considering the project, then it should declare so and stop wasting people’s time. However, it will then find a strong Opposition against it.”

The 10-day extension was announced following a meeting of the environment board. It said that the decision to extend the consultation period was unanimous, after the board had considered all the factors. The Authority will now accept submissions related to the IPPC until midnight on 27 November.

Busuttil urged Axiak to reconsider his decision and provide a reasonable timeframe.

“Citizens, who are not experts, need more time to read, study and analyse all information that was published this week.”

Busuttil went on to add that no consultation meetings should be held before enough time is given to everyone to analyse the information.

“I expect action from you,” the PN leader added.

In a reaction, the Labour Party said Busuttil opposed the switch to cleaner energy sources and “wants energy to be generated from heavy fuel oil”.

The PL said that Busuttil was inconsistent in his criticism: “After first claiming that things were not carried out as they should have, he’s now complaining that there are too many documents. The real reason for Busuttil’s objection is that he is against cleaner energy.”

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