Parliament to discuss Delimara power plant on Tuesday

Speaker Anglu Farrugia gives ruling on request to discuss Delimara power plant EIA at committee stage, debate to be held at a plenery level tomorrow.  

Speaker Anglu Farrugia
Speaker Anglu Farrugia
The new Delimara power plant is set to constructed by next year
The new Delimara power plant is set to constructed by next year

Speaker Anglu Farrugia today decided that the parliamentiary Environment Planning Committee “should not and cannot discuss” the environment impact assessment on the Delimara power plant because this does not fall within its responsibilities.

“Once the House Business Committee decided to hold a discussion on the issue at a plenary stage, not because it should not discuss the issue but because it is not within its mandate,” Farrugia said.

Moreover, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the debate will be held tomorrow and “if need be we will take up adjournment time to discuss the matter.” 

In recent weeks, the opposition and a number of NGOs and residents called on government not to rush with a proposal to berth a floating LNG storage vessel in the Marsaxlokk port. The LNG vessel will be berthed outside the new Delimara gas plant to provide natural gas to the power station.

Last week, Labour MP Marlene Farrugia agreed with Nationalist MPs who requested a discussion in the parliamentary Environment Planning Committee on the environment impact assessment (EIA) on the new Delimara power plant.

However, Farrugia, who chairs the committee, had made it clear that she would only act upon a written ruling by the Speaker Anglu Farrugia.

In last week’s meeting, Opposition MPs protested that the parliamentary Environment Planning Committee was not being given the opportunity to discuss the EIA of the new gas-powered power plant.

Despite the disagreement of government MPs, who insisted that there was no need for the committee to discuss the EIA since the subject was also being discussed within Mepa, Farrugia said that the committee had a duty to hold such a discussion.

Although government whip Carmelo Abela had said that such a discussion was not within the committee’s remit, Farrugia said she had no problem having the discussion, but the Speaker had informed her that a decision had been taken to hold a plenary debate.

"I am the one who most wants this discussion here, but I cannot go against the Speaker's wishes and I will request his decision in writing," Farrugia said.

Farrugia had also pointed out that she always wanted to discuss the EIA within the committee, stressing that she could not fathom how the committee could overlook such an issue.