Sunday, November 12, 2006

Beckles still awaiting Alutrint response to EMA

by Juhel Browne
November 12, 2006

Public Utilities Minister Pennelope Beckles says she has not yet received Alutrint's response to the Environmental Management Authority's deficiency report on the proposed Alutrint aluminium smelter.

Alutrint had reportedly submitted its response to the deficiency report on August 21, and the EMA was supposed to make a decision on the matter on October 16.

On October 17, the EMA said it had postponed its decision on the Alutrint response because the supplementary report was insufficient.

In its deficiency report, the EMA expressed its concerns that the hydrogen fluoride emissions from the 125,000-metric-tonne Alutrint smelter proposed for construction in La Brea would be too high and said the disposal of the potliners did not meet with the authority's approval.

Speaking in response to a motion raised by St Augustine MP Winston Dookeran during Friday's sitting of the House of Representatives at the Red House, Port of Spain, Beckles said the EMA had not yet concluded its analysis of the Alutrint proposal.

"Mr Deputy Speaker, as it related to the Alutrint smelter, the available information for all types of levels of emissions from the plant, any potential health risks to the residents and plans for waste disposal, I await the outcome of the EMA's review to the applicant's response to the deficiency report on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

"Once the EMA has completed its analysis of the Alutrint EIA the results would be available, and those results would be made public," Beckles said.

As for the larger proposed 350,000-metric-tonne Alcoa smelter, Beckles said the Government was not yet in a position to make an informed statement on it.

"To date, the EMA has issued the terms of reference for the conduct of an Environment Impact Assessment for the smelter. As this EIA has not been conducted, there is no technical information to support an informed position on the type of pollutants that are likely to be emitted or likely to be released from the plant," she said.

"When the information on the Alcoa plant is approved and reviewed by the EMA, the result of the resulting review will be made public. In fact, Mr Deputy Speaker, the EIA must include at least four opportunities for public consultation facilitated by an independent facilitator at various stages in the process. Additionally, the EMA plans to make available independent experts to the community."


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