PN: ‘Muscat can’t walk the talk on environment’

Opposition says government vote to reject amendments to Environment Authority law is sign of Labour government's refusal to make sector more accountable and transparent

File photo: Ryan Callus and Marthese Portelli
File photo: Ryan Callus and Marthese Portelli

In a press conference, shadow environment minister Marthese Portelli said the government had lost its credibility on the environment after rejecting suggestions made by the party and civil society to ensure more transparency on the direction of the new environment authority.

Referring to the a recent vote in parliament in which government MPs rejected amendments over how the chairman of the new Environment Authority should be appointed, Portelli said this decision had shown that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was not capable of seeing his promises through.

“Muscat has rejected the opportunity to make the sector more accountable and transparent,” she said.

Labour MPs also voted against an amendment to reserve three out of the ten board members of the EA for people chosen by the environmental NGOs themselves. “The decision to ignore the wishes of civil society has even cost him one of his MPs,” she said referring to MP Marlene Farrugia’s resignation from the Labour Party on Tuesday.

PN environment spokesperson Ryan Callus said that the government had been faced by a test and that it had failed and lost credibility in the sector.

“The government has chosen to go against its promises and it has unashamedly discarded the suggestions made by civil society.”

Under previous administration, MEPA degenerated into an 'uncontrollable monster' - Government

In its reaction the opposition's claims, the government issued a statement where it reminded the PN that under the previous administration, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority was allowed to become an uncontorllable force.

"Faced by this negative state of affairs, the government did in fact take many suggestions made by civic society and eNGOs," the statement reads, adding that this contrasted greatly with the 2010 reform of the authority, when the PN government had chosen to ignore amendments made by the Labour Party.