Church calls on ERA to resist ‘undue pressure’ on LNG power station

Church environment commission says ERA board members should be free in addressing issues on gas power station and should vote ‘serenely and truthfully’

Members of the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) should resist “undue pressure” and be free in addressing the issues relating to the contentious gas power station tomorrow, the church environment’s commission (KA) said today.

“Notwithstanding the undue pressure for the issue of the permit so the new deadline for the new power station’s start of operations is respected, ERA board members should freely and conscientiously address every argument, and respond serenely and truthfully to the issues raised in the public consultation stage and to issues that might be raised during the public meeting,” it said.

In a statement ahead of the ERA’s decision on power station’s operation permit on Monday, the KA insisted that the Environment Resources Authority has a duty of care towards the quality of life of all citizens, particularly of those living nearby, and consequently, it should not “delegate to the applicant of the permit of the responsibility of anything that may go wrong.”

The ERA is tomorrow expected to decide on the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) application for the IPCC permit to include the operation of the new power station and the LNG terminal.

The KA insisted while things should not be blown out of proportion,  “facts have to be made clear to all, and nothing should remain concealed.”

“If members still have doubts on the application, these should be sorted out before a decision is taken,” it said.

The KA also said it was “disappointed” that an issue of national importance as is the generation of electricity, had been turned into “political bickering”.

“Whenever this occurs, the discussion is contaminated by partisan interests and the strength of the argument is appreciated by the political allegiance of its proponent, and not for its validity,” it said.

On Sunday, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil urged ERA members to base their decision on the interests of the public and not of those of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Busuttil’s remarks were made after Engineer Arthur Ciantar filed a judicial protest against the ERA, urging it not to approve the power plant’s operation permit.

The judicial protest was filed after the ERA published its responses to the feedback received during the public ocnsultation on the power station on Thursday - just one working day before the public hearing on Monday.

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