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Environment, Health & Science
21.07.2009 11:42
ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY, ITALY, SLOVENIA
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Environmental NGO Labels Trieste Gas Terminal Time Bomb

Ljubljana, 21 July (STA) - A group of six environmental NGOs from Slovenia, Italy and Croatia known as Alps Adria Green (AAG) protested on Tuesday against a planned construction of a land-based gas terminal in Aquilinia (Zavlje) near Trieste. The AAG claims that the Italian project means the construction of a time bomb.

According to the AAG, the construction of the terminal in the Gulf of Trieste would pose a threat not only to tourism there, but also to the lives of hundred of thousands of people living in Slovenia, Italy and Croatia.

The project does not consider the nature nor the power and magnitude of the consequences that possible accidents or terrorist attacks on the facility would have for the region, the NGO wrote in a press release.

The terminal would moreover cause a significant decrease in the temperature of sea water in the area, the AAG pointed out. "The terminal Gas Natural in Zavlje alone would release 650,000 cubic metres of sea water cooled by at least five degrees into the sea every day," the press release reads.

The water used for gasification of liquefied petroleum gas is also chlorinated, which means that the amount of chlorine in the sea would annually increase by 40 tonnes. This would change the chemical and biological balance of the Gulf of Trieste.

Another serious problem would be the transport of water ballast from tankers and the water cooling system, which could cause a spread of pernicious and pathogenic water organisms.

The AAG also warned that landings and anchoring of tankers would raise the toxic sediments from the sea bottom, which have subsided in the centuries of industrial activity in the gulf.

According to the NGOs, the first 90 centimetres of the sediments are contaminated with heavy metals, especially mercury.

The AAG also highlighted that Slovenia lacked only 3% of gas, which could be easily replaced by renewable energy sources.

It moreover noted that the last meeting between the Italian and Slovenian governments was merely informative and had no expert basis. The ministers of both countries did not establish an international body which would asses the impact of the project on the environment, the NGOs argued.

The AAG is drawing up a strategic plan to stop the construction of the terminal, which also includes a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg; the group believes the project poses a threat to the health and security of the population and has not been fully presented to the public.

The Italian government last week endorsed a plan for the construction of the terminal, which Slovenia fears would have negative effects on the environment, also in Slovenia.

The terminal is to include two tanks with a capacity of 140,000 cubic metres each and produce up to eight billions of cubic metres of gas.

Slovenian Environment Minister Karel Erjavec has recently responded to the news by saying that if Slovenian remarks have been considered, there would be no obstacles for the project.

A technical commission tasked with forming Slovenia's position on the envisaged terminals is expected to form its final opinion by the end of August.

mab/mke/eho
21.07.2009 11:42

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